Monday, May 29, 2017

Vaneese Thomas Blues For My Father

Vaneese Thomas
Blues For My Father
Segue Records

The youngest daughter of the legendary Rufus Thomas, Vaneese Thomas, like her sister Carla and brother Marvel, have been involved in the music business dating backing to singing back-up vocals for Stax. After college she relocated to New York where she was a session singer and songwriter. She has issued several albums that showcase her singing and songwriting, and the latest is “Blues For My Father” (Seque Records). It had been five years since her last album, “Soul Sisters Volume 1” (Segue Records), where she resurrected classic soul recordings from the likes of Bettye Swan, Tina Turner, Etta James and her sister Carla. This new recording, as indicated by the title, has her delving more into blues and she contributed ten originals and also handles two covers, one of which is from her late father.

Produced by Thomas and her husband Wayne Warnecke, there is a variety of musicians appearing on this, but the core is Buddy Williams on drums, Will Lee on bass, Robbie Kondor on piano and Tash Neal on guitars with Warnecke on percussion. There are appearances by (among others) Marvel Thomas and Paul Shaffer on organ, Ron Mathes and Jeff Mironov on guitars, horns led by Tim Ouimette and Perry Gartner and Shawn Pelton on drums.

What stands out on “Blues For My Father” is Thomas’ vocals. Rob Bowman, who penned the liner notes, mentions “Vaneese’s masterful control of phrasing, breath, intonation and timbre.” In other-words, she can flat out sing with a display of vocal dynamics as well as power to leave a strong impression on the listeners. She belts out about having the blues while sitting at the station waiting for the train to bring her lover back on the opening “Southern Central Blues.” Then she gets sassy celebrating her man who plays no tricks and “10 X The Man You Are.“

The Memphis funk of “Wrong Turn” is a delightful duet with sister Carla (while Marvel adds organ) with some punchy horns in the backing and a crisp guitar solo from Jeff Mironov. “Wrap Your Arms Around Me” has a bit of southern rock feel as Tash Neal is on dobro with Mironov again on guitar. Part of the melody here is evocative of the Ricky Allen recording “Cut You Loose,” although her lyric is telling her man to wrap his arms around her and never let go.

The centerpiece of this release is a duet with her father Rufus, “Can’t Ever Let You Go.” Like Natalie Cole did with her recordings with her deceased father, Vaneese adds her vocal to the original Rufus Thomas recording. Husband Warnecke pulled out Rufus’ vocal from the original analog masters, added some exhortations from other Thomas recordings, then provided a contemporary backing, and guitar and sax solos along with Vaneese improvising around her father’s vocals.

Other highlights on this set include “Corner Of Heartache And Pain,” a straight, slow blues about the pain felt after her man left with Paul Shaffer on organ. “Love’ Em And Leave’ Em Behind” is a soulful number where Vaneese tells a heartbreaker she has seen her friends in too much pain, but he won’t do the same to her. “Southern Girl” is a celebration of her roots and the south with Kirk Whalum taking the sax solo. There is also a straight cover of John Fogerty’s “The Old Man Down The Road” before the disc closes with a wonderfully sung lament, “Blue Ridge Blues” backed simply by Rob Mathes’ guitars.

Blues For My Father” is a showcase of Vaneese Thomas’ craft as a songwriter and her soul-shaking vocals and should have considerable appeal among blues and southern soul audiences. 

I received my review copy from a publicist. This review originally appeared in the November-December 2014 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 357). I recently reviewed her most recent recording, The Long Journey Home.

Here Vaneese is performing at the 2015 Pennsylvania Blues Festival.


Saturday, May 27, 2017

Snooks Eaglin Soul’s Edge

Snooks Eaglin
Soul’s Edge


A recent Offbeat article analogized that Snooks Eaglin is to guitarists what Professor Longhair was to pianists. Further evidence of his distinctive musical styling is presented by his fourth album for Black Top, a set which may be the label’s most significant body of music. 

His percussive, chicken-scratching guitar playing is immediately recognizable. His slightly sand-papered, but unmannered vocals deliver lyrics with wit or earnestness as required. His low-key approach certainly helps boost such trivial lyrics as Ling Ting Tong, and Skinny Minnie. At the same time, the simplicity of his vocal makes I’m Not Ashamed so believable. 

There are a couple of great second line grooves, with Fats Domino’s Josephine, and the equally terrific, I Went to the Mardi Gras. 

Not everything works, as Snooks’ vocal lacks the vitality of Hank Ballard as he fails to pull off the Midnighters’ Let’s Go, Let’s Go (here titled Thrill on the Hill). The instrumental Answer Now, sports too much musical noodling, but the late night blues You and Me has more terrific playing, though its impact is somewhat diffused by its length. 

This album does not reach the level of Out of Nowhere, my favorite of his earlier Black Top albums, but, given Snooks imagination, the variety of material, and his startling guitar playing, one can hardly go wrong with Soul’s Edge. 

I likely received a review copy from Black Top. This review originally appeared in the May 1994 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 201). This may be found used. Here is Snooks in performance.


Friday, May 26, 2017

Vanesse Thomas The Long Journey Home

Vanesse Thomas
The Long Journey Home
Segue Records

It has been a couple years since Vaneese Thomas, daughter of the legendary Rufus Thomas issued "Blues For My Father," which I found was "a showcase of Vaneese Thomas’ craft as a songwriter and her soul-shaking vocals. Like that release, this was produced by Thomas and her husband Wayne Warnecke, the core of the musicians on this include Joe Bonadio on drums, Paul Adamy on bass, Paul Mariconda on keyboards, Sergio Cocchi on organ, Wayne Warnecke on percussion or electric guitar, and Al Orlo or Tash Neal on guitar.

About her last recording I wrote that Vaneese "can flat out sing with a display of vocal dynamics as well as power to leave a strong impression on the listeners." And when they starting rocking on the opening "Sweet Talk Me," she exhibits her power as well her nuance in phrasing set against a driving rhythm. A loping walking groove underlay a fine blues performance, "Lonely No More." There is a party feel to "Sat'day Night On The River," with its relaxed shuffle groove and Cliff Lyons booting tenor sax solo. "Mystified" is a soul-blues number as she celebrates being captured in his embrace.

"Country Funk" mixes a funk groove with a dash of country-rock violin, dobro and banjo in the backing, and is followed by the topicality of "The More Things Change" ("the more they stay the same"). "Prince of Fools" a strong soul performance about someone she loves and only a fool would let Vaneese go. "I Got A Man In Tn" has a tough blues-rock setting as she sings about traveling performing and having met many men in her travels, but she has a message for them that she has a man in Tennessee is waiting for her in the County of Shelby, while there is a low-key feel as she sings about rocking away on her front porch as she is "Rockin' Away The Blues." with bluesy dobro from Peter Calo. With a jaunty, Jimmy Reed-styled groove, "Revelation" celebrates her finding a love that is true, followed by a slow roots performance "Mean World," with a plea for civility and live a life with a heart full of charity.

A strongly sung cover of Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain," is the final recording on another strong recording that is up to the high standard of the earlier album, as well as her live performances which this writer was fortunate enough to attend. Vaneese Thomas continues to impress with her marvelous singing and songwriting on this recording.

I received my review copy from a publicist. This review originally appeared in the March-April 2017  Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 371). Here is a video of Vaneese celebrating the release of this CD.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Chris Rogers Voyage Home

Chris Rogers
Voyage Home
Art of Life Records

This album is the debut as a leader by trumpeter Chris Rogers, who is the son of legendary salsa and latin jazz trombonist Barry Rogers. Rogers was also with the Brecker Brothers and Billy Cobham, a founding member of the legendary jazz-rock band "Dreams." A remarkable player, he replaced Tom Harrell in Gerry Mulligan's Concert Band at the age of 19. Rogers himself states about his background, "“Listening to Mike, Randy and my dad playing together, and all Barry’s great solos on those classic Eddie Palmieri sides pretty much informed my concepts... and have been such towering influences upon me that the music here can be considered a direct reflection of their incredible spirits.”

There is a wonderful cast for this recording (recorded in 2001 but now released) with the bass/drums tandem of Jay Anderson and Steve Johns, pianist Xavier Davis, Synthesizer/keyboard wizard Mark Falchook joins the rhythm section on three. Two selections have the great Mike Brecker (Randy contributed to the liner booklet), and four have tenor and alto saxophonist Ted Nash, while baritone saxophonist Roger Rosenberg and trombonist Art Baron perform on a very special dedication to Barry Rogers - enhanced by the great man himself on an introductory trombone cadenza (thanks to the blessings of technology). Also guitarist Steve Khan is on three tracks, two of which include conguero/percussionist Willie Martinez.

Rogers contributed the nine compositions performed here which might in overly simplistic terms be viewed as being rooted in the post-Coltrane and Blue Note hard bop of the late sixties and beyond. The opening "Counter Change" certainly starts in that mode with the leader's crisp trumpet and Brecker's robust, volcanic tenor sax while the following title track (dedicated to Dan Grolnick) has a dreamy flow that to these ears evokes some of Herbie Hancock's recordings and has some lovely tenor from Nash. While "Whit's End" alludes to Whit Sidener, Rogers' teacher at the University of Miami, it is dedicated to Michael Brecker, who is brilliant here also playing with virtuosity and imagination while Rogers own playing displays his clarity and bite.

Dedicated to Lew Soloff, "The Mask" has a bluesy funk feel to it with more strong tenor from Nash. "Ballad for B.R." is dedicated to his father and the opening trombone cadenza is lifted from one of his father's solos with Eddie Palmieri. Art Baron on trombone and Roger Rosenberg on baritone sax join Nash and Rogers for this performance with some lovely arranging of the four horns in stating the theme and coloring the solos by Nash, bassist Anderson, Rogers, Rosenberg and Nash on an enchanting performance.

There is a three song suite of songs that feature guitarist Steve Khan, starting with "Rebecca" dedicated to Ray Barretto, a spritely paced latin jazz composition that he brought to a Barretto rehearsal. Pianist Hector Martignon named it after Rogers' sister who had attended on of their gigs. Dedicated to Mike Lawrence, "Ever After", was Rogers' first composition. It is a lovely ballad with the lyricism of Rogers and Khan evident throughout set against a light samba-like rhythm. "Six Degrees" is described as a bebop-influenced composition, with Rogers playing a mute (evoking Miles to an extent) with Khan's gorgeous comping in addition to his own marvelous solo. Bassist Anderson is also showcased here.

Nash returns for "The 12-Year Itch," whose title refers in part to it taking 12 years to finish this jazz shuffle. The head of this bouncy performance reminds me of some of Woody Shaw's compositions. Pianist Davis is featured here with a solid improvisation, along with by the two horns. It closes an excellent recording that sounds contemporary today.

My review copy was received from a publicist. This review originally appeared in the March-April 2017  Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 371). Here is a short video clip of Chris Rogers on flugelhorn.


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wee Willie Walker & The Greaseland All Stars Live! Notodden Blues Festival

Wee Willie Walker & The Greaseland All Stars
Live! Notodden Blues Festival
Little Village Foundation

Kim Wilson refers to Willie Walker as "one of the last, if not THE last, real soul singer on this planet." A career that goes back to recording for Goldwax Records decades ago, he perhaps is finally getting some recognition. With a fine band assembled by guitarist Kid Andersen (Jim Pugh on the B3 organ, Lorenzo Farrell on bass, and J Hansen on drums with horns), Walker performed in August 2016 at the Notodden Blues Festival in Norway and Andersen has made the performance available.

After band introductions, Walker opens with Clarence Reid's "(Can You) Read Between The Lines," where with his raspy, gospel-inflected vocals he establishes his authority as a singer with The Greaseland All Stars providing solid, idiomatic support. It is followed by a terrific original by Rick Estrin (who helped Walker get larger exposure, "Is That It!" with greasy organ and punchy horns. It is followed by a recasting of a Goldwax recording (that was also issued on Checker), "You Name It, I Had It," a terrific deep southern soul performance. It is one of several Goldwax recordings revived here that include the Beatles' "Ticket To Ride," that he covered four decades ago. The loping groove of "There Goes My Used to Be," "I Ain't Gonna Cheat On You No More" (co-written by Sam Cooke) and "A Lucky Loser ( a favorite of mine)" are other early recordings he performed at this Festival.

In addition there are strong renditions of Tyrone Davis' hit, "Can I Change My Mind," and Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come." Rick Estrin adds harmonica to "Funky Way," and Walker does a solid take on "Little Red Rooster," that has a jazzy feel that owes as much to Sam Cooke's rendition as that of the Howlin' Wolf. Another extended reworking of another Beatles' classic, "Help," closes this recording as Walker slows this rocker down. Andersen's playing here evokes the late Robert Ward and Lonnie Mack on this track, but he is outstanding whether playing soul guitar riffs or playing in a jazzier vein on other tracks. The backing, as indicated, is solid throughout. In any event, Wee Willie Walker certainly has it still and this live recording suggests just how moving and powerful a performer he remains.

I purchased this. Here is the performance of "Help" from the Festival.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Duchess Laughing at Life

Laughing at Life
Anzic Records

Duchess, the flirty and fun jazz vocal trio of Amy Cervini, Hillary Gardner and Melissa Stylianou, have a second recording that provides a contemporary take on such classic vocal trios as the Boswell Sisters and the Andrews Sisters as they provide fresh and delightful takes on mostly classics of early jazz, and the American Songbook. They are backed by pianist Michael Cabe, bassist Matt Aronoff, and drummer Jared Schonig with guitarist Jesse Lewis appearing ion 9 of the 14 selections and tenor saxophonist Jeff Lederer on four. Additionally Wycliffe Gordon adds trombone to two selections and Anat Cohen adds clarinet to two. The trio share vocals on eleven tracks while each is featured on one.

The trio opens with a delightful take on Clarence Williams' "Swing Brother Swing" which is handled a bit more sweetly than Catherine Russell's recent recording of this number. Lederer rips off some ferocious tenor sax on it. "On The Sunny Side of the Street" is a pretty familiar standard and their backing trio adds fresh accents to the harmonies and vocal interplay with Cabe taking a lively solo. The title track is a sprite number new to these ears followed by a lively rendition of the classic "Everybody Loves My Baby" with Anat Cohen's adds fills around the vocals that include some double time singing and scatting before she takes a wonderful solo. This is a marvelous performance followed by a lazy, wistful "Stars Fell on Alabama," with Wycliffe Gordon adding some growling and crying trombone.

Amy Cervini sings Cole Porter's amusing "Give Him the Oo La La" with Gardner and Stylianou adding their backing while Stylianou takes lead on, "Where Would You Be Without Me," from a sixties Broadway show and Lewis takes a guitar solo here. Gordon joins again on Ellington's "Creole Love Call," on which Duchess sings lyrics in addition to wordless vocalizing. Gordon conjures up Bubber Miley and Tricky Sam Nanton with his growling mute as well as adds his own vocalizing and scatting to that of Duchess on a marvelous take on Ellingtonia. Gardner is up front on a nice take on the Ray Charles classic, "Hallelujah I Love Her (Him) So," and then the trio provides a ruminative take on Porter's "Er'ry Time We Say Goodbye." Johnny Mercer's "Strip Polka" is far from reflective with its zany lyric of a burlesque queen who strips as the band plays a polka while she is always a lady who stops just in time with Lederer's tenor sax providing the right atmosphere.

After a bouncy "Here's to the Losers," Cohen adds some warm clarinet to a lovely "We'll Meet Again" before a bonus track, "Dawn" which sounds like a lullaby. It is an enchanting finish to another delightful recording from Duchess.

I received my review copy from a publicist. This review originally appeared in the March-April 2017  Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 371) but I have made a few corrections and minor changes. Here Duchess sings "Everybody Loves My Baby."

Monday, May 22, 2017

Tinner Hill Blues Festival Brings The Blues Back to Falls Church

Beverly Guitar Watkins at the 2013 Tinner Hill Blues Festival
The weekend of Friday June 9 through Sunday June 11, the City of Falls Church will host the 24th Annual Tinner Hill Blues Festival. Produced by the Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation in conjunction with the City, the Fesival will feature such performers as Mud Morganfield, The Nighthawks, Beverly ‘Guitar’ Watkins and more. There are both free and ticketed events throiughout the Little City in Northern Virginia.

Blues on Broad 

The Festival opens Friday with the opening event, Blues on Broad, at the Mad Fox Brewing Company at 440 W Broad Street with their craft beers, a live band and terrific food. This runs from 5 to 8 PM and there will be an admission. After 8PM, blues continues at various locations in Falls Church. The full list of bands and venues will be polsted on the Tinner Hill website and the Festival’s Facebook page.

Concert in the Park

Saturday, the Blues moves to Cherry Hill Park, 223 Little Falls Street. In the morning there will be blues performers at the City’s weekly Farmer’s Market along with the showing of Blues Films, a workshop-presentation, and kids programs including an instrument petting zoo. There is an admission charge for the Saturday concert and tickets can be purchased ahead at time per the Facebook page or website. After the concert there will be a Blues Crawl at various venues. Also, the Festival wristband will allow one to the 50% off admission to JV’s Restaurant.

Linwood Taylor


Concert in the Park starts at 1PM (doors open at noon) with the music of Linwood Taylor (shown performing in the video above), a mainstay in the DC blues scene for more than three decades. Living Blues called Linwood “…one of finest contemporary blues guitar on the road today.” His style reflects influences of true guitar icons like Muddy Waters, Albert King, ALbert Collins and Jimi Hendrix. Linwood has played an in-demand guitarist who has played across the U.S. and Europe. His touring credits include legends Lonnie Mack, Albert Collins, and Joe Louis Walker. His two-year stint with Walker included performing with him on the 2010 Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise and is on recordings from this cruise. On the local scene, he’s been awarded several WAMMIES for “Best Blues Band.”

Kareem “Lil’ Maceo” Walkes

Linwood will be followed by saxophonist Kareem “Lil’ Maceo” Walkes (performing above) with special guest, Slam Allen. Walkes, a newcomer to the DC area, is one of its most thrilling and emotive performers of funk, soul, and blues. Pushing boundaries as a composer, performer, and recording artist, his playing, though inspired by Maceo Parker, Candy Dulfer, and others, displays his own fresh ideas and distinctive tone. A native New Yorker, Walkes has been breathing powerful, soulful, raw energy into his saxophone since the age of 18.  He has performed and toured with numerous artists including Cyril Neville, Maceo Parker, Papa J & Mo Soul, Grant Green Jr., Frank Viele & The Manhattan Project, blues legend Moe Holmes, Grammy Award winner John Mayer, music icon Cyndi Lauper, and New York Blues Hall of Famer, Slam Allen. Walkes’ 4th album, “His Name Is Kareem” was released in April. He has also written and produced for R&B recording artist, Rhoda.

Kareem Walkes with Slam Allen at the 2016 Pennsylvania Blues Festival
Appearing with Walkes will be Slam Allen who is taking off his own busy schedule to join Walkes. The two have played multiple events together including the 2016 Pennsylvania and D.C. Blues Festivals. Allen is one of the most dynamic and original blues and soul artists on the scene today. More than just a singer, writer, and guitar player, Allen connects with his audience like entertainers from a bygone era. Think Otis Redding, and B.B., Albert, and Freddie King, with a blend of Wilson Picket, James Brown, Sly Stone and a little George Benson and Jimi Hendrix thrown in to make a unique musical experience. He spent nine years as the lead singer, lead guitarist, and band leader for James Cotton and is also credited with writing and singing on Cotton’s 2011 Grammy-nominated album, “Giant. ” As a solo performer, he is the recipient of the prestigious Master Blues Artist award from the New York Blues Hall of Fame. He was also a 2016 Blues Music Award nominee. With seven original albums under his belt, Slam Allen is dedicated to forging his own legacy in the Blues and Soul world.

Beverly "Guitar’ Watkins

Beverly "Guitar’ Watkins (seen performing above) is next and describes her blues,“My style is real Lightnin’ Hopkins lowdown blues. I call it hard classic blues, stompin’ blues, railroad smokin’ blues.” If you’ve never seen a blues lady who can play guitar behind her head, belt out powerful songs and lay down James Brown steps, you’ve never been in the audience when Beverly “Guitar” Watkins was burning down the house. As a teen, she teamed up with the legendary Piano Red and for the next six decades, she has rocked venues with the best of them. Through the years, Watkins has stolen the hearts and blown the minds of audiences across the U.S., Europe, and Australia. And, she is not about to give up her striding, acrobatic style just because she’s marched past 70. Beverly Guitar means business! This Georgia Music Legend Award Winner has worked with James Brown, B.B. King, Ray Charles, Taj Mahal, and played on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise. She also had a residency at Underground Atlanta, an Atlanta nightclub. Beverly Watkins is also on the cover of the current Living Blues with her story told there. This is her second appearance at a Tinner Hill Blues Festival and we’re delighted to welcome her back!

Tas Cru & His Band of Tortured Souls

Tas Cru & His Band of Tortured Souls (seen performing above) brings to the stage one of the new original and unique voices in the blues today. Raucous, rowdy, gentle, sweet, eccentric, quirky, and outright irreverent are all words that fittingly describe Tas Cru’s songs and testify to his reputation as a one of the most unique of bluesmen plying his trade today. As Downbeat magazine notes, “His songs are blues poetry - crafted with rare verbal flair and his ability to cast a memorable hook is magical!” Bruce Iglauer, founder and president of Alligator Records calls Cru “a rare, real writer.”  Live, these songs are performed with power and passion as observed by Living Blues magazine: “The vivacity and sheer joy with which Cru plays is intoxicating!” His most recent new album, “Simmered and Stewed,” released in 2016 on VizzTone Records is receiving wide acclaim and extensive worldwide airplay.  It’s a worthy follow-up to Cru’s 2015 album, You Keep the Money, the hottest debuting blues album of that year, which spent a year residing at or near the very top of every major blues chart.  He has also recorded five othger albums of original songs.

Based out of upstate New York, Cru performs in a variety of formats ranging from solo acoustic to a 7-piece backing band. He’s appeared at a number of festivals and major blues venues throughout the US and Canada. Cru explored and developed his talent by taking up with a rougher crowd of older, self-taught musicians where he was introduced to the songs of the Sun Records legends.  His first foray into the blues came after leaving the US Navy when he was asked to join a band formed by a former shipmate and bluesman, Delray Streeter, whose repertoire tended toward the older and much rawer country blues.  This schooling in country blues later served Cru well and is infused into his original songs.

The Nighthawks

The Nighthawks (Seen performing above) then will come up for a full set before they back Mud Morganfield for his closing set. Just four years after its formation, The Nighthawks began a friendship and musical association with the great Muddy Waters. Initially, Mark Wenner contacted Muddy’s manager, Scott Cameron, and persuaded him to provide Wenner with Muddy’s schedule. Wenner contacted numerous venues and offered to open the shows. The first one was a weekend at The Pier in Raleigh, NC and Muddy invited all four ‘Hawks to join in a multi-song jam. After that incredible engagement, there were week long stints at The Cellar Door in Washington, DC as well as shows at Painters Mill, MD, Emerald City in Cherry Hill, NJ and the Bucks County Blues Society in PA. In 1978, Muddy recommended the band to Wise Fools, a club in Chicago, and when The Nighthawks arrived, the place was abuzz with the news that Muddy made reservations for himself and his young wife, Sunshine. In 1979, The Nighthawks album for Adelphi, “Jacks and Kings” featured Pinetop perkins and Bob Margolin from Muddy’s Band. In 1980, the Nighthawks, now represented by Rosebud, Muddy’s booking agency, opened shows for him from Seattle to San Diego on its first west coast tour. The night Muddy died, the band was on stage with John Hammond, Billy Joel, and Toru Oki playing Got my Mojo Workin’ at the Bottom Line in New York City.

When The Nighthawks first heard Mud Morganfield (seen performing above) on his Severn recording, For Pops, they were totally blown away. Given a chance to back Mud in North Carolina, the band found itself in an amazing situation. Mud’s look, voice, gestures - his entire aura - channeled his famous father. After a number of shows, including the January 2017 Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise with Mud, The Nighthawks are excited to have a hometown show with him at the Tinner Hill Blues Festival. Baltimore’s Steve Kraemer will join the show on piano to give the band that real Chicago sound.

Mud Morganfield

Closing the Concert Cherry Hill park will be Muddy Waters’ first born son, Larry “Mud” Morganfield (born 1954). Mud was raised by his mother and often heard the nicknames of “Muddy”, “Muddy Jr.” and “Little Muddy,” but prefers Mud Morganfield and it is fitting.  It’s uncanny how much he looks and sounds like his dad. Growing up, Mud rarely saw his famous father, “he was always on the road working” but, as he notes, the old man was always there for him. “I always have played music. Pops used to buy me a set of drums every Christmas. I started off as a drummer and gradually went to playing bass…” Only recently has Mud stepped forward to embrace his musical gifts—a big voice that can only be compared to his daddy’s.

Mud is now ready to honor his Pops and his music. “I started to sing to show the world that Dad left me here. I love and am proud to sing his songs just like I love and will always be proud of him. I’m not Muddy Waters and I’m certainly not trying to be Muddy Waters. I’m Mud Morganfield. But when I’m up on stage I always feel Pops is there with me and it means so much that I can get on stage and keep his music alive around the world.” Mud’s award-winning album, “Son of the Seventh Son”, was launched on Severn Records in 2012 and was nominated in the Best Album and the Traditional Blues Male Artist Album categories of the 2013 Blues Foundation Blues Music Awards. In 2014, Mud’s collaboration with Kim Wilson, the album “For Pops,” attracted more critical acclaim and awards.

Sunday Gospel Blues Picnic

The Festival concludes Sunday, Juen 11, with the free Old Fashion Gospel Blues Picnic. This takes place at the Tinner Hill Historic Site at 116 Tinner Hill St. Performing will be The Carter Singers and The Barbour Travelers. There will be free lemonade and sweet tea available along with food for sale.

For more information visit or the Facebook page,–370763756356394/.