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JERRY LAWSON

JUST A MORTAL MAN

The ‘Jerry Lawson Legacy Project,’ an exclusive series for Blues America, explores the history of Jerry Lawson and the legendary Persuasions in chronological order as explained in a biographical commentary by Jerry and Julie Lawson with special guests.

Jerry Lawson is arguably one of the most important figures in the genre of a’cappella (singing without the use of instrumental accompaniment). For more then 40 years, Lawson was the lead singer, producer, arranger and founding member of the Persuasions, the most famous a’cappella group to date, and the only performers of their genre to earn worldwide mainstream success. Jerry Lawson and the Persuasions have undoubtedly done more to popularize a’capella then anyone else before or since. Lawson launched a solo career in 2004 soon after releasing an album with Talk of the Town and appearing on CBS's the Sing-Off. At the age of 71, he is releasing his first solo album on Nashville Red Beet Records, 'Just a Mortal Man.'

Blues America is a listener supported radio series broadcasting weekly from the Chico Chism Studio in Phoenix and providing an outlet for Blues artists to share their stories. There's nothing like it!

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BROADCASTING COAST TO COAST

LET'S TALK ABOUT SOME BLUES, SHALL WE

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Morgan Freeman

Blues Photo

64

Show 64: Sep 16 to Sep 22, 2016

LIL ED WILLIAMS

SEP

2016

Lil Ed Williams is one of a kind. With his trademark Fez hat which symbolizes an African crown and his torturous slide guitar, Lil Ed Williams embodies the spirit of his famous uncle, J.B. Hutto and has become one of the biggest names in the blues. He is an award winning artist who is set to release his ninth full-length recording for acclaimed Alligator records called ‘The Big Sound of Lil Ed & the Blues Imperials.’ When he hits the road to promote his new album, he’ll be greeted by mobs of devoted followers called “Ed Heads”; with popular late night talk-show host Conan O’Brien being their most high profile member.

KEEP THE BLUES ALIVE

SWMAF

Southwest Musical Arts Foundation

FUNDING AND PROMOTIONAL CONSIDERATION MADE POSSIBLE BY:

68

Show 68: Oct 21 to Oct 27, 2016

BILLY BOY ARNOLD

OCT

2016

Billy Boy Arnold is one of a handful of musicians still standing to talk about the vibrant and important Chicago blues scene of the 1950’s. He was first inspired by John Lee Sonny Boy Williamson who he considered to be the most important purveyor of modern blues harmonica. After several meetings with Sonny Boy, while only a teenager, he cut his first two sides for the cool label before meeting Ellas McDaniel. Soon after, Arnold was in the studio with McDaniel cutting the two-sided smash “Bo Diddley/I'm a Man” for Checker which forever branded McDaniel with the moniker, Bo Diddley. This session led to Arnolds own hits for Veejay Records, “I Wish You Would” and “I Ain’t Got You.” Both hits put Arnold on the map and were later covered by British rockers the Yardbirds.

70

Show 70: Nov 04 to Nov 10, 2016

RONNIE BAKER BROOKS

NOV

2016

The Brooks family is known for the business of blues. Their patriarch is the legendary Lonnie Brooks, formerly known as Guitar Jr whose two sons Ronnie Baker Brooks and Wayne Baker Brooks are receiving the torch; not just for the family legacy but the blues as a whole. Ronnie Baker Brooks has three successful contemporary blues albums under his belt produced by the legendary Minnesota based Jellybean Johnson, a veteran collaborator for Prince and Janet Jackson. His recent project pairs him with Mud Morganfield, Billy Branch and Erica Brown as a member of the Big Head Blues Club created by Todd Park Mohr who leads the popular Denver based rock band, Big Head Todd and the Monsters.  Their album is called Way Down Inside and pays tribute to the late Willie Dixon.  

Blues America 69 - Death of Johnny Ace

71

Show 71: Nov 11 to Nov 18, 2016

WALKIN' CANE MARK

NOV

2016

Walkin’ Cane Mark has been an established harmonica player on the vibrant Phoenix Blues scene for over 20 years with several albums under his belt. He was discovered in part by Chico Chism (the Howlin’ Wolfs last drummer). He got his first harmonica lesson from Snooky Pryor. Willie Dixon gave him his nickname and the title track for his first effort, Gravedigger. Junior Wells taught him how to put funk in the blues and co-wrote the title track to his fourth album, Tryin’ to Make You Understand.  Mark has toured heavily with Nappy Brown and Wayne Cochran.  

MUST LISTEN

72

Show 72: Nov 18 to Nov 24, 2016

KENNY NEAL

NOV

2016

Kenny Neal stands tall among the younger generation of blues players. His trademark brand of blues, featuring a combination of Louisiana swamp blues, funky rhythms and soul-deep vocals, powered by his slashing guitar playing and--on his solo albums--loping harmonica, puts him at the forefront of contemporary blues players. He’s the second-generation bluesman under the Neal brand following in his father’s footsteps, the great late Raful Neal.  Slim Harpo gave him his first harmonica and by the time he was 17, he was performing with his dad and Buddy Guy. He’s recorded extensively since 1987; including 9 albums with Alligator Records and 3 for Telarc.

73

Show 73: DEC 01 to DEC 08, 2016

MIKE ZITO

DEC

2016

Mike Zito is one of the leading contemporary blues artists on the scene today. He has been releasing albums for over a decade in addition to his top notch production with Samantha Fish and Albert Castiglia. He was a founding member of the Royal Southern Brother, a popular band that also features Cyril Neville and Devon Allman. He recently opened up about his struggle with substance abuse and credits his mentor, Walter Trout for helping him to beat his demons. Mike continues his success with Ruf Records on his latest release, Make Blues Not War which is produced by one of the industry’s best, Tom Hambridge.

Blues America was off during the Thanksgiving holiday

74

Show 74: DEC 09 to DEC 15, 2016

Heard on this Episode

LURRIE BELL

BRAND

New Blues

Biscuit Miller

She Likes to Boogie

Wishbone

BlueBass

2016

BLUES at

The Break

Joey Gilmore

Brownskin Woman

Respect the Blues

Moser St.

2016

WAY WAY

Back Blues

Doctor Clayton

Pearl Harbor Blues

074170-1

Blue Bird Records

1942

BLUES

Soundbite

Muddy Waters

Interview

A Chance to Meet

ITV

1981

BLUES

KickOff

Lurrie Bell

Do You Hear

Can't Shake this Feelin

Delmark

2016

DEC

2016

Lurrie is the second generation Bell playing traditional post-war Chicago blues after his famous father, harmonica master, Carey Bell. During the 70’s while performing with Willie Dixon and Koko Taylor, he was hailed as a prodigy and touted as the future of blues in Chicago; but his personal battles with depression and substance abuse threatened to derail his career. He made a miraculous comeback during the 90’s and never looked back. Today he’s held in the highest regard as one of Chicago’s biggest blues stars with an impressive resume of historic and popular recordings under his belt, including his latest studio effort, Can’t Shake this Feeling which has been nominated for a Grammy Award.  

 
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