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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 public 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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KEEP THE BLUES ALIVE

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Southwest Musical Arts Foundation

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78

Show 78: JAN 13 to JAN 20, 2017

CEDRIC BURNSIDE PROJECT

JAN

2017

Cedric Burnside is a 4-time Blues Music Award Drummer of the Year who grew-up in rural Northern Mississippi, without a TV or radio, across the street from Junior Kimbrough’s Juke Joint and under the wing of his famous Grandfather, RL Burnside. After many years of touring and recording with RL Burnside, Cedric continued to keep hill country blues alive with his own endeavor, the Cedric Burnside Project featuring his lifelong friend, guitar ace Trenton Ayers. Trenton is the son of Junior Kimbrough guitarist, Little Joe Ayers. Together the dynamic duo has released a handful of critically acclaimed albums with the latest effort being Descendants of Hill Country which was nominated for a Grammy Award.    

93

Show 93R: May 11 to May 18, 2017

HENRY GRAY

MAY

2017

This week your host, Drew Verbis is escorting Henry Gray to Memphis to receive his induction into the Blues Hall of Fame. 92 year old multi Grammy-nominated blues piano master, Henry Gray, is a living legend and a national treasure whose recording career spans seven decades. Despite his vibrant solo career, he is often remembered for his significant contribution to post-war Chicago blues during his time as a session player for Chess Records and a member of the Howlin’ Wolf band. In 2016, shortly after the release of his critically acclaimed Delta Groove Records called ‘The Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest,’ Henry was awarded a lifetime achievement award in Chicago.

May 10 2017

Drew at Henry's house in Baton Rouge

May 10 2017

Drew and Henry Memphis Bound

May 10 2017

Henry finds a Piano in Memphis

May 10 2017

Henry is inducted into the Hall of Fame

113

Show 113: OCT 27 to NOV 03, 2017

ROCKIN' JOHNNY

OCT

2017

Rockin Johnny cut his teeth on the Chicago scene with the likes of Jewtown Burkes and the Taildragger. Since then he’s released 7 critically acclaimed albums, most on famed Delmark Records. Johnny led one of the most requested house bands in Chicago working with Billy Boy Arnold, Jimmie Lee Robinson, Willie Buck, Paul De Lay and many more, before relocating to California. He just released his second studio effort as a Californian, both recorded at the renowned Greaseland. His latest is Neoprene Fedora, a theme which represents his assimilation into Westcoast culture. The album features Kid Andersen, Aki Kumar and Alabama Mike among others and features a smashing version of Johnny Littlejohn’s ABC hit, Guitar King.

117

Show 117: DEC 01 to DEC 07, 2017

TAIL DRAGGER

DEC

2017

When the Howlin’ Wolf gives you a name it sticks. He told Arkansas native, Crawlin’ James Yancey to stop draggin’ his tail and from that day, the Tail Dragger was born on the Chicago blues scene. He took tips from Mad Dog Lester Davenport, Lee Shot Williams and Chico Chism before becoming one of Chicago’s most formidable singers and hiring a gamut of top talents to back him including Willie Kent, Little Mack Simmons, Johnny B Moore, Carey Bell, Lurrie Bell, and Eddie Shaw. Later, he frequently molded young white players; some have moved-on to make significant contributions to the blues, like Bob Corritore and Rockin’ Johnny Burgin.

127

Show 127: FEB 16 to FEB 22, 2018

GEORGE BOWMAN

FEB

2018

George Bowman is a famed singer in his home state of Arizona where he is a Blues Hall of Fame inductee and connected to his cities long legacy of blues and soul going back to the days of Dyke & the Blazers. After moving to Arizona from Mississippi, George befriended famed funk icon Dyke Christian and became hooked on the groove. Shortly after he formed a band, Memphis Soul and began to cut singles and opening for Charles Brown and Taj Mahal. George has recorded several full-length studio albums including ‘Badd Boy’ which featured renowned guitarist Lucius Parr. Recently George collaborated with Bob Corritore on a single for the upcoming Delta Groove Records release, ‘Don’t Let the Devil Ride.’

131

Show 131: MAR 16 to MAR 22, 2018

NICK MOSS

DENNIS GRUENLING

MAR

2018

Nick Moss is a formidable Chicago blues guitarist who cut his teeth with Jimmy Dawkins, Jimmy Rogers and Willie Big Eyes Smith before cutting solo records for his own critically acclaimed Blue Bella Records. He started on bass with Barrelhouse Chuck before switching instruments. Recently, he found a natural home with Chicago’s powerhouse record label, Alligator. Releasing premiere album for the label, The High Cost of Low Living with longtime bandmate, Dennis Grueling. Dennis is a harmonica ace from New Jersey who brings commanding vocals and raw harp to the Nick Moss band.

133

Show 133: APR 1 to APR 6, 2018

BERNARD ALLISON

APR

2018

Blues guitar ace, Bernard Allison marks his return to Ruf records with “Let It Go”, another solid studio album to his already distinguished recording career. Bernard is the son of legendary blues icon, Luther Allison. Like his father, he molded his passion for blues and skills as a band leader in front of audiences in France. Today he is one of the top talents on the scene and like his father, he is leading the contemporary blues charge for the next generation of players while bearing the traditional blues torch passed down by his father.

137

Show 137: MAY 4 to MAY 11, 2018

MUD MORGANFIELD

MAY

2018

Mud Morganfield is the eldest son of the legendary Muddy Waters. He has never lived in the country; he was born and raised in the inner city of Chicago during the Motown era making his path into the blues much different from his famous father. When he commands the stage the similarities of his powerful vocals with that of his father is uncanny; giving blues fans a sense that the spirit of Muddy Waters is alive. In 2015, Mud earned a Blues Music Award for his album, ‘For Pops.’ Mud celebrates the release of his critically acclaimed fourth studio effort, ‘They Call Me Mud’ on Severn records.

142

Show 142: JUNE 1 to JUNE 7, 2018

JOHNNY TUCKER

JUNE

2018

Johnny Tucker started playing in the local clubs of Fresno during the early 60’s with his family band. Later, he cut his teeth as a drummer for Phillip Walker. This put Johnny on the road and he would later work with Floyd Dixon, Robert Cray, Johnny Otis, Lowell Folson, Johnny Copeland and many more.  In the late 90’s he cut a studio album with James Thomas before launching a solo career with the release of “Why You Lookin’ at Me” some years later. Today he celebrates a long career in Big Jon Atkinson’s vintage 1-track studio to cut the downhome blues project, Seven Day blues released on the High John label.  

146

Show 146: JUNE 29 to JULY 7, 2018

SHAWN HOLT

JULY

2018

Shawn Holt is an international blues star who carries on the tradition and family legacy of his father, the legendary Magic Slim. He picked up the guitar and performed with dad at only 17, before becoming the leader of his dads famous band, the Teardrops that featured Shawn's famous uncle, Nick Holt and the great John Primer. Shawn performs out sold-out venues around the world and released his debut studio effort for Blind Pig records, 'Daddy Told Me" that won a blues music award.

148

Show 148: JULY 13 to JULY 20, 2018

MARCIA BALL

JULY

2018

"Long-Tall" Marcia Ball earned world-wide fame as a two-fisted barrelhouse piano player who delivers a fiery twist of Louisiana swamp blues and Texas stomp-rock. The award winning Southern piano player has been cutting critically acclaimed studio records since the mid-80’s. Her latest effort is called, Shine Bright, produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos and available everywhere from Chicago’s renowned, Alligator records. In 2018, she was inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame.

149

Show 149: JULY 20 to JULY 27, 2018

WALTER WOLFMAN

WAHSINGTON 

JULY

2018

Walter “Wolfman” Washington cut his teeth backing the legendary R&B legend, Lee Dorsey (Ya Ya) who took the young teen on the road and legendary venues like the Apollo theatre. Later, Wolfman learned details about singing and the music biz while backing Johnny Adams for many years. He released critically acclaimed records during the 80’s and 90’s for some of the top labels of the day, like Rounder and Point Blank. The New Orleans native is rooted in deep blues but cut many funk grooves and naturally commands deep soul ballads with tremendous feeling. His debut studio effort for Anti-Records is a stripped down bluesy contemporary-Jazz project called “My Future is My Past.”

152

Show 152: AUG 10 to AUG 17, 2018

DOM FLEMONS

AUG

2018

Dom Flemons is a multi-instrumentalist and native of Arizona who emerged onto the roots scene as the co-founder of the Grammy-Award winning folk band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops. After leaving the group to pursue a solo career he quickly lived up to his moniker as the American Songster performing in front of music coinsures around the world, including at Carnegie Hall and the Grand Ole Opry. Recently he teamed with the Smithsonian Folkways label to produce his latest studio effort titled, Black Cowboy. A roots experience that highlights the forgotten culture and history of African American Cowboys.  

153

Show 153: AUG 25 to AUG 31, 2018

SHEMEKIA COPELAND

AUG

2018

Shemekia Copeland is the Grammy-nominated reigning Queen of Chicago Blues who released her 8th studio effort on Alligator records, ‘America’s Child.’ The album was produced by Will Kimbrough and features all-stars like John Prine, Emmy Lou Harris and Steve Cropper. Shemekia carries on the legacy of her family name in the blues made famous by her legendary father, Johnny Copeland. She’s won numerous Blues music awards.

156

Show 156: SEP 21 to SEP 27, 2018

SUGAR BROWN

SEP

2018

Sugar Brown is a multi-talented instrumentalist who cut his teeth on Chicago’s Westside and the Delta Fish Market backing the Tail Dragger and Rockin’ Johnny Burgin.  He earned his PhD from New York University and is a professor at the University of Toronto where he has resided for the past 18 years. He celebrates his third studio effort, “It’s a Blues World” which showcases his understanding for deep blues in the vein of greats like Frankie Lee Sims, Little Mack Simmons and Big Bill Broonzy while adding hints of outside roots influences such as, Tom Waits.

157

Show 157: OCT 12 to OCT 18, 2018

WHITNEY SHAY

OCT

2018

Whitney Shay is a talented upcoming blues talent from Southern California with 2-San Diego Music Awards under her belt. She’s hit the road with Igor Prado and is seen locally on nearly 200 shows per year. Recently, she cut her sophomore studio effort, A Women Rules the World, at Kid Andersens’ renowned Grease Land studios with an all-star cast of player that included Igor Prado and Aki Kumar, among many others.  

Heard on this Episode

BRAND NEW

Blues

Bob Margolin

She's So Pretty

Self Titled

Vizztone

2018

BLUES at

The Break

BLUES

KickOff

Kenny BB Wayne

I knew I'd Play Blues

Inspired by the Blues

Stony Plain

2018

Lindsay Beaver

Got Love if You Want it

Tough as Love

Alligator Records

2018

 

160

Show 160: DEC 01 to DEC 07, 2018

LINDSAY BEAVER

DEC

2018

BLUES

Soundbite

Big Mama Thornton

Interview

Arhoolie Foundation

1984

WAYWAY

Back Blues

Sippie Wallace

Parlor Social De Luxe

Okeh Records

78 - 8232-B

1925

Lindsay Beaver is a multi-instrumentalist from Halifax, Nova Scotia who is the most recent young talent to sign with Chicago-based Alligator Records. Her debut studio effort for Alligator, 'Tough as Love' showcases her deep love for roots music and features a helping hand from Marcia Ball and amazing talent like Laura Chavez, Sax Gordon and Dennis Gruenling (among others). Lindsay tours extensively as Tough as Love has risen to the top of the roots charts.

 
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