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!
WHERE THE BLUES TALKS
THE BLUES IS A FEELING
THE BLUES IS LIFE
THE BLUES IS STORIES AND LEGENDS
THE BLUES IS THE HEART AND SOUL OF AMERICA
IT IS OUR HISTORY AND NATIONAL STANDARD
EVERYTHING STARTED FROM THE BLUES
IT'S TIME NOW FOR BLUES AMERICA
BROADCASTING COAST TO COAST
LET'S TALK ABOUT SOME BLUES, SHALL WE
KEEP THE BLUES ALIVE
Southwest Musical Arts Foundation
FUNDING AND PROMOTIONAL CONSIDERATION MADE POSSIBLE BY:
Show 78: JAN 13 to JAN 20, 2017
CEDRIC BURNSIDE PROJECT
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.
Show 93R: May 11 to May 18, 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
Show 117: DEC 01 to DEC 07, 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.
Show 127: FEB 16 to FEB 22, 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.’
Show 137: MAY 4 to MAY 11, 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.
Show 142: JUNE 1 to JUNE 7, 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.
Show 148: JULY 13 to JULY 20, 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.
Show 149: JULY 20 to JULY 27, 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.”
Show 152: AUG 10 to AUG 17, 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.
Show 153: AUG 25 to AUG 31, 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.
Show 156: SEP 21 to SEP 27, 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.
Show 157: OCT 12 to OCT 18, 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.
Show 168: MAR 01 to MAR 08, 2019
Christone Kingfish Ingram became an internet sensation during his early teen years being followed by the likes of Bootsy Collins and the Game. After bursting on the scene from Clarksdale, Mississippi under the tutelage of Howlin’ Madd Perry, Kingfish could be seen on network television programs like the Rachel Ray Show and the Steve Harvey Show. His first studio releases appeared on the Netflix hit series, Luke Cage. Kingfish recently signed to Chicago’s famed Alligator records to release his debut single, Fresh Out featuring the legend, Buddy Guy for the upcoming album, Kingfish. The album is produced by Tom Hambridge and features Keb Mo and Billy Branch.
Show 170: MAR 08 to MAR 15, 2019
Charley Crockett is a self-taught guitarist who cut his teeth busking on the streets of America. He hails from the same Texas border town as Freddy Fender. He has a talent for seamlessly integrating traditional blues with country. Charley has cut several studio records, his latest is called Lil GL’s Blue Bonanza. The album features original songs and a few covers of blues standards including Jimmy Reed’s hit, ‘Bright Lights Big City’ and GL Crockett’s south Chicago hit, ‘There’s a Man Down There.’
Show 171: MAR 24 to MAR 31, 2019
Keesha Pratt is a Houston Native who was born in Mississippi and grew-up singing gospel in the church. In 2018 she took Memphis by storm to win the International Blues Challenge. Her critically acclaimed debut studio effort is titled, Believe and features 12 original tracks produced by bass man, Shawn Allen.
Show 173: APR 19 to APR 25, 2019
James Armstrong is a veteran westcoast guitarist who cut his teeth as a teen on the Los Angeles blues scene with Smokey Wilson. He launched a successful solo career during the 90’s after being discovered and signed-to Hightone Records by Bruce Bromberg. He mastered the slide guitar after a tragic and violent altercation damaged his fret-hand. He’s released many studio efforts since this time, including the critically acclaimed ‘Blues Been Good to Me.’ James is known to perform in a diverse contemporary style with rock overtones, but his latest release captures the depth of his downhome upbringing.
Heard on this Episode
Show 180, PT 1: OCT 10 to OCT 17, 2019
SCREAMING JAY HAWKINS
An in-depth conversation about one the strangest characters of the Blues and Rock-N-Roll, Screaming Jay Hawkins with author Steve Bergsman. Details of Hawkins life is based on Bergsman new autobiography called, I Put a Spell on You: The Bizarre Life of Screamin' Jay Hawkins. Part 1 of this 2 part series will cover Hawkins early career which both, sensationalized and marginalized by his many character flaws.
I Remember You
Roots and Branches
Nobody But You
Screaming Jay Hawkins
I Put a Spell on You
Screamin Jay Hawkins
Art Fien's Poker Party
Last Kind Words