Hailing from Siler City, NC, the textbook definition of a picturesque small southern town, Nu-Blu’s heart and soul is husband-and-wife duo Daniel and Carolyn Routh. Carolyn’s caramel-coated soprano is one of the band’s defining traits, at times a tender lullaby, at times a freight train headed straight for you, but always unwinding a surprising tale. Daniel is the group’s backbone, a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist who also handles band management. TJ Honaker on vocals and banjo, and Clint White on fiddle/mandolin round out the quartet’s warm, layered, American roots sound. Together they deliver upbeat, blazing-fingers pick work just as well as gentle, heartwarming ballads, and they do it all with a natural togetherness that can’t be faked, forged over hundreds of shows on the road.
8:00 Michael Bell & Chris Powers (original singer-songwriter material ranging from bluegrass and old-timey to blues and klezmer)
8:30 Gaines & Wagoner (aka The Stellanovas / Americana, jazz, blues & unique ditties)
9:00 Milk House Radio (bluegrass)
10:00 Graminy (original “class-grass” / www.graminy.net
Testimonials From Fellow Travellers
Paul Cebar has been a musicians' musician for as long as I've known him. Nothing wrong with that but how sweet it would be if at last the wider public could finally catch on to what the rest of us have known for all these years (in my case nearly thirty) that Cebar is the real thing: a proper soulful cat with the tunes, the chops and the voice to swing this epoch back to its senses.
Paul Cebar is an American Original.
I’ve loved his work since I met him, eons ago.
He inspires with great energy and flings sparks
in the direction of all who listen.
He always gives you the feeling that he’s got something up his sleeve,
something new, yet timeless,
something that’s been percolating for several moons…..
I get the feeling, with Paul, the best is yet to come
And I’m standing in line to be there when it do….
“I’ve been a fan of Paul’s for a long time. He and his band play great funky, original music, drawing from a wide range of styles I love. We love touring with them and his radio show is awesome.”
Paul Cebar has an amazing voice: deep, soulful, natural, sincere. Fortunately, these qualities also describe his guitar playing and songwriting. He's the full package. The real deal. There are very few artists in this day and age that have such a well rounded and natural sound, and even fewer that can play rhythm and blues with such a personal and unaffected tone. His sense of rhythm and phrasing is at once restrained and flowing. It pulls you in and leaves you hanging on his words. There is something indescribably human and raw in his sound - something that you can't help to feel. His music seems to float to you the way smells waft from your mothers kitchen. The flavors vary, but the sound is always warm and inviting.
-GABRIEL ROTH aka BOSCO MANN (Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings)
oh that paul! when i first met paul cebar in the early 80s, he'd already been chiseling away at this huge stone of what we do for years and all along the way, then and now, creating work that stands along side the great musical sculptors of our time. heavy statement? yes. exaggeration? no. paul, humbly and quietly in his small corner of the planet, makes music that is honest, emotional and will, in fact, downright rock you out of your hosiery. i've been very fortunate to be in the circle of the know about paul and its long overdue that stuff of this caliber get a wider listen.
-louie f. perez jr. (los lobos, latin playboys)
The last time these two guys played together in Madison was 12 years ago as High School Jazz All Stars. Since then they've both studied with giants, and travelled the globe with their music. Two young sax wizards return to where it all started for this special show.
Seattle's Sweethearts, Sundae + Mr. Goessl, features award-winning vocalist Kate Voss (Earshot Magazine's Vocalist of the Year) and Seattle's busiest freelance guitarist, Jason Goessl. This charming husband/wife duo incorporates humor, vintage style, interesting instrumentation, nostalgia and serious chops in their act and were awarded Best Jazz Act of 2017 from Seattle Weekly. Established in 2014, this industrious couple has produced 5 albums and booked 9 national tours while enjoying "living the dream" as full-time musicians. In a word, this act is delightful.
Brown Paper Tickets https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3426759
Voted into Afro Pop Hall of Fame on May 3.
MOKOOMBA brings audiences an electrifying blend of Afro-fusion and tantalizing traditional Tonga rhythms.
Their mix of Zimbabwean rhythms, Afrobeat and Afrorock generated exuberant scenes in over 75 concerts in 2017: from New Orleans Jazz Festival to Sziget Festival featured in Songlines Magazin, Arte TV, Afropop and many more.
The name MOKOOMBA stems from the deep respect that the Tonga people have for the Zambezi River and for the vibrant life that it brings to their music and culture. This exciting Tonga group from Zimbabwe certainly has a unique sound that is set to take the world music scene by storm!
One of the most versatile, skilled, and curious musicians in Chicago, guitarist Goran Ivanovic has built a career built upon exploration. Born and raised in Croatia, he was in the midst of studying at the prestigious Mozarteum University in Salzburg, Austria with masters like Elliot Fisk and Joaquin Clerch when his parents (his father is a Serb, his mother a Bosnian Croat) were expelled in the late 90s; the family was granted asylum in the US and they settled in Chicago.
Since his arrival he’s displayed a deep interest in collaboration, steadily expanding his stylistic range well beyond the European classical music and Balkan sounds he was fluently versed in when he arrived. These days his repertoire not only incorporates those disciplines, but jazz and flamenco as well.
He’s recorded duet albums with the great Pakistani-Chilean jazz guitarist Fareed Haque as well as Greek-American musician Andreas Kapsalis. He’s a key member of the quartet Eastern Blok with Matt Ulery, Doug Rosenberg, and Michael Caskey, a combo that deftly surveys the folk music of Macedonia, Bulgaria, and Serbia in a distinctly jazz-oriented context, embroidering timeless Balkan melodies and rhythms with sophisticated improvisational gambits.
Most recently, Ivanovic released an eponymous trio album with bassist Ulery and percussionist Pete Tashjian where he’s achieved a stunning assimilation of his many influences, creating a hybrid all his own. Reviewing the new album for All About Jazz, Budd Kopman wrote, “It is easy to get lost in Ivanovic's technique, especially if one plays (or attempts to play) Classical style guitar, in a jazz style or not.” The trio’s agility has also been noted. As Jeff Elbel wrote in the Chicago Sun-Times, “The trio are recognized for their individual virtuosity, but they show particular excellence as a unit able to stop on a dime and twist gracefully through the trickiest hairpin turns together on local stages.”
These guys really embody a great free-spirited sense of bluegrass that has found a home out here in Colorado. Dave Johnston (Yonder Mountain String Band)
Chain Station is one of my favorite bluegrass bands on the scene today. They are talented pickers and play a solid mix of originals and covers. Scott Morrill (Owner, Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom)
6 PM Lynette’s Vocal Improvisational Group. Lynette’s Improvisational Singing Group is a continuous exploratory journey into sound. The group has been meeting every other week for the past 18 months. With Lynette as the group’s leader/conductor, they will show how someone who has not been well versed as an accomplished jazz musician can create his or her own piece with the group. Every session is created anew, as we delve into the spontaneity of the moment. In performance, the group demonstrates the many possibilities of listening and singing in a communicative way. The audience is bound to be a part of the action.
8 PM Acolplados- Latin Jazz Project
Brown Paper Tickets https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3426753
"Vieux’s dazzling guitar prowess has earned him the sobriquet “the Hendrix of the Sahara”. Samba is a wide-ranging set which takes in the deep reggae groove of “Ouaga” and the more flamenco-like complexity of “Samba Si Kaire”, a graceful song about the guitarist’s parents … The griot tribute-songs extend from close family to his extended cultural family, specifically fellow musicians persecuted by jihadist invaders in Northern Mali, their suffering acknowledged in the blizzard of skirling guitar that illuminates “Homafu Wawa”.“ **** — The Independent
"From album to album, Vieux Farka Touré is one of the most respected guitarists and musicians in the world. Each of his projects is praised both by critics and by the public. This new opus, a hybrid and inventive disc recorded in studio and in front of an audience, confirms the extent of his talent." — ICI Musique, CBC
"This is the devotional, earthy soul of Mali, channeled through a six-string electric guitar." — Monolith Cocktail
“Neither traditional album nor live recording … Slick yet lively, powerful yet clear … Vieux is stepping out of the shadows of his [father] into a spotlight all of his own.” **** — Record Collector
“A raucous portrait of a well-drilled band on fire.” **** — Mojo
“The most impressive, mature and interesting of Vieux’s [albums] so far … Vieux Farka Touré continues to develop as a fine musician who is proving to be his own man and found an interesting way of presenting his own music.” — fRoots
"Beginning an album with a near six minute instrumental is adventurous by anyone’s standards, even more impressive is to carry it off successfully, and Vieux Farka Toure does just that as Bonheur grips the listener from the opening bars … Vieux is in blinding form.” 7.5/10 — Louder Than War
"The rhythms are insistent and fluid, he moves easily through Malian Blues, funk, reggae and praise songs and the numbers themselves were developed in the studio so you get the feel of music in its gestation but in the environment he has always been the master – live … Toure is approaching a creative peak … Just another magnificent album from the ‘Hendrix of the Sahara’.” ***** — Music-News
“Since 2009, Vieux Farka Touré has been working with Six Degrees on a run of increasingly commanding albums, and Samba continues the trend. Opener “Bonheur” is a tangled, motoring desert blues. “Samba Si Kaira” rolls and chugs, while Vieux’s guitar picks out a tracery of tangled figures. “Homafu Wama” finds him shredding on rockier material seemingly built around a quote from “I Shot The Sheriff”.” — The Wire
"Vieux Farka Touré takes us to the sacred heart of rock n roll." — The Arts Desk
Samba debuted at #6 on WORLD MUSIC CHARTS EUROPE
“One of the world's greatest guitarists.” —RnR
"Toure’s guitar playing is, frankly, incredible … The man is a master showman but he leaves it to his music to produce the fireworks … There is no-one who can approach his playing today and he is constantly setting new standards for what can be achieved with a guitar but he never loses sight of the music that lies at the heart of his playing and through number after number sent the music into higher and higher realms...I don’t think I’ve seen a musician of the same standard as Toure in the last couple of years – definitely a gig of the year contender." ***** — Music-News
"A rare talent indeed. **** " — Newcastle Evening Chronicle (full article)
"Touré’s fingers are lightning-fast, his sound in general light as a feather. He favours delay over distortion, playing soft and speedy melodies with overtones of Malian folk-guitar that culminates in a strangely dreamy and blissful sonic atmosphere.” — Brighton’s Finest (full article)
“[Vieux] Farka Touré is fast becoming as respected a Malian blues guitarist as his departed father, Ali." — The Independent on Sunday (full article)
“The son of the late Malian guitarist Ali Farka Touré inherited his dad’s dazzlingly fluid phrasing but clearly also digs the fiery African blues rock of bands like Tinariwen. Here, he joins American peers for a crossover set that slays” — Rolling Stone (full article)
“…original guitar music of such fluidity, technique, rhythmic invention, and passion, that it is virtually unequaled. 4 1/2 Stars out of 5″ — ‘The Secret’ album review, All Music (full article)
“[Vieux's] gently twisting melodic lines can acquire intensity with surprising speed, as theydid on a brilliant version of “Lakkal” that left both band and audience momentarilybreathless.” — Live review, LA Times (full article)
“Every now and then, if you’re very lucky, you get to witness a live performance that blows everything else away. ” — The Independent, review about Vieux’s Queen Elizabeth Hall show (full article)
“Set to be Africa’s next guitar hero. ” — The Guardian, review about Vieux’s Queen Elizabeth Hall show (full article)
“Leaves other fine guitarists with their jaws hanging loose” — Music-News.com (full article)
“He combines the prowess of a global superstar with a down-to-earth charisma and this is a hot ticket with a down-home feel.” — Metro, London (full article download)
“Not just the “Hendrix of the Sahara” but much more besides.” — Songlines (full article download)
Jonathan Hoel is a Madison, WI based saxophonist and composer. Comfortable in all styles of music, his true passion is musical improvisation in all it's forms. With 25+ years of study and performance, Jonathan has garnered attention and a loyal following through various projects including his jazz group the Jon Hoel Trio and his new funk project, Better Yeti.
Music was always a part of Jonathan's upbringing. His parents, though not musicians, had a deep love of music and records were always being played in the home. His grandfather was a jazz drummer who possessed a huge vinyl collection and a drum set in the basement. In high school, Jon studied sax and jazz improvisation with Anders Svanoe. He also got to spend a summer studying with jazz legend Frank Morgan. Jonathan attended college at University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. where he studied saxophone with David Hastings and jazz theory/improvisation with Mathew Buchman. He received the John Radd Memorial Jazz Scholarship all four years of attendance as well as the Anne Schierl Fine Arts Scholarship for 2 years. Upon graduating with a degree in saxophone performance in 2005, Jon moved to Madison, WI where he quickly became an in-demand free lance artist. He started his own funk/jazz group Nuggernaut and performed under his own name as the Jon Hoel Trio/Quartet.
Jon's current projects include his trio, Nuggernaut, and Better Yeti as well as continuing his free lance work. He has been a member, performed regularly, or toured with the following acts: The Mustache, Que Flavor, Roots Collective, Vibe Syndicate, Mambo Blue, Megan Bobo & the Lux, Big Mouth Jazz Collective, Otis and the Alligators, Big Payback, Tweed Funk, Natty Nation w/ Kevin Kinsella. He has been lucky enough to share the stage with some of his idols including: John Scofield, Joe Lovano, Poncho Sanchez, Matt Wilson, and Andrew D'Angelo.
The big tent of the blues encompasses a host of styles, and Down Hearted Blues runs the gamut, from the scorching electric fury of Otis Rush’s “You Know My Love” to the jaunty swing of Little Walter’s “Crazy Mixed Up World” – both penned by the great Willie Dixon – to the unplugged elegance of Memphis Minnie’s “Nothing in Rambling.” Unlike clumsier white interpreters who have tried over the years to signify credibility by resorting to histrionics or tackling obvious standards (“Stormy Monday,” “Crossroads,” et al.), or both, Jewell doesn’t claim undue authenticity, happily remaining her resolutely unflappable self. This aversion to theatrics lets her spotlight the strong material, and if Down Hearted Blues moves listeners to seek out the originals of Charles Sheffield’s funky “It’s Your Voodoo Working” or Albert Washington’s mournful “You Gonna Miss Me,” so much the better.
Read the entire review: https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2017/09/eilen-jewell-down-hearted-blues-review.html
NPR Music: The result is a rootsy, rocking record-collectors’ love affair of old songs that Jewell and her husband and bandmate, drummer Jason Beek, have a fondness for. “We really love to uncover the past. It’s almost like digging for buried treasure,” Jewell says about the new album, out on September 22 on Signature Sounds.
NPR’s Morning Edition sat down with Eilen Jewell to talk about wanderlust, the ways in which she resembles the “Half-Broke Horse” on her record, the landscape of Idaho, and what it means to come home: http://www.npr.org/2015/05/27/409698844/eilen-jewell-the-half-broke-horse-of-idaho-returns-home
“Packed with vivid lyrics, steel guitars, and hot licks, Jewell’s Americana-driven brand of country music sounds tailor-made for sweltering, stagnant summer nights.” – Eric Renner Brown, Entertainment Weekly
“Though her fifth album consists entirely of original songs, ‘Sundown Over Ghost Town’ feels like a welcome return to a set of classics you’ve known forever, gently touching on desire, loneliness, and the longing for home… Perfect for fans of Madeleine Peyroux.” – Jon Young, Mother Jones
“Evocative.” – Craig Shelburne, CMT Edge
“Eilen Jewell is an artist to keep your eyes on… Fans may also hear a bit of Kacey Musgraves in her laid-back and effortless sound.”- Christina Vinson, The Boot
“Tantalizing… Wonderful voice… this slightly restrained, beautifully crafted and enticing Eilen Jewell disc proves she remains one of American’s most intriguing, creative and idiosyncratic voices.” – American Songwriter, Hal Horowitz
“A revelatory journey rich with cinematic visions, elegant, sweet, and smoky vocals, and hauntingly autobiographical songs inspired by her return to the West.” Jeremy D. Bonfiglio, No Depression, May 28, 2015
“The most succinct and poignant album of her career… Excellent.” – Timothy Monger, All Music Guide
“8 stars… expressive grace and and imagery… barbed details… Her melodies create sonic landscapes, mostly of the mythic American West where human beings have the perspective of big open spaces to compare themselves with a wide-screen setting… The music sets the words off, like the Milky Way on a dark black night.” – Steve Horowitz, Pop Matters, May 28, 2015
“Masterful… Eilen! Eilen! Eilen!” – Mike Jurkovic, Elmore Magazine, May 28, 2015
“It’s not an overstatement to say that Eilen Jewell is Johnny Cash reincarnate… Jewell packs a punch that doesn’t bruise until after the meaning of her work sets into listeners’ bones.” – Kate Everson, Country Standard Time
“She’s got a sweet and clear voice with a killer instinct lurking beneath the shiny surface.” - NPR Song of the Day
Actor Tom Hanks included Eilen as a “Summer Must” in Entertainment Weekly.
“Dark and haunting…but alluring just the same…Give me more of that voice.” - USA Today’s Pop Candy
“An undiscovered gem…a layered, shimmering pearl of an album that shines like cut crystal.” - American Songwriter
“We’re loving Eilen Jewell…smoky vocals and swinging rhythms.” -OK! Magazine
“Once you hear her, you can’t help but stick around for more.” - Pollstar
“Shimmering” – Mother Jones
“Emotionally raw and riveting.” – Boston Globe
“Not to be missed.” – No Depression
“[Jewell] embellishes the classic Nashville vocal approach with appealing measures of blues, pop, and jazz.” – New Yorker
“A major accomplishment.” – Boise Weekly
“With a burnished voice lingering somewhere between Billie Holiday and Neko Case, Eilen Jewell’s aching vocals are pure, country-gospel, box-car soul.” – My Old Kentucky Blog
“Must-listen alt-country.” – Minneapolis Star Tribune
“One will become “Hooked.” Don’t be afraid of getting caught.” – PopMatters
The Nightowls are an American musical group from Austin, Texas, whose debut album Good As Gold was named Top 10 of the 2014 Austin Music Awards Albums of the Year. Their sound combines R&B and soul music. Lead singer and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Harkrider formed The Nightowls in 2011. His song "Nobody Ever Wants to Leave" was commissioned in 2009 by The Austin Convention and Visitor’s Bureau as Austin’s official theme song.
While Wild Skies has carved out their own, unique sound at the intersection of folk, rock & Americana, the band members have come from all different musical backgrounds, each of them bringing a different perspective to the collaboration. That diversity, at its core, is what helped Wild Skies forge their own path and distinctive sound.
The Chicago based foursome came together through a series of Craigslist ads posted by Ohio transplant and singer/songwriter Aaron Lechlak while searching for band members to help with studio work in early 2014. Teaming up with opera trained singer Kristine Sorum-Williams, jazz bassist Tommy Good, and folk drummer Andy Kearns, what began as a solo project evolved into a three-part harmonic melting pot of folk-rock.
The group pulls largely from modern indie/folk influences, with big harmony hooks and anthemic finishes, though at the heart of it is music rooted in a blend of the American music they grew up on. The newest release conveys heartache, loss and the everyday challenges of growing up and finding a place in the world. Lechlak and Sorum-Williams trade off taking the lead, and the group leans often on almost familial three-part harmonies throughout.
In early 2016, after a major shakeup in their lineup, the band hit reset and began writing and rehearsing as a four-piece. The stripped down sound gave the group a better appreciation for the simple; requiring them to lean heavily on their vocal harmonies to achieve the big sound they were looking for.
Enlisting the help of engineer Chris Harden (Hard Working Americans, Rachael Yamagata, Plain White T’s) the four began work on an 8 song LP in the summer of 2016. The result will be the group’s first studio effort as a full band. A natural evolution from their more casual 2014 debut, the record maintains an organic, acoustic driven backbone, but introduces electric textures, better developed vocal harmonies, and more seasoned songwriting and storytelling.
Meisel’s performances express the story of his lifelong musical journey through song.
Thought provoking, spirited, and idiosyncratic, audiences are drawn into his shows through storytelling, as they relate to the passion on display and see pieces of themselves in the music.
Ryan’s brand of fiery saxophone playing leads his group to take chances while committing to push the envelope of the group’s improvisational limits. Meisel is dedicated to finding his own authentic style within the genres of Swing, Hard Bop, and Contemporary Jazz.
Meisel’s path to jazz was laid through early influences that included Milwaukee, Madison, and Chicago jam sessions and on the bandstand mentorship with Clarinetist Chuck Hedges, study with legendary bassist Richard Davis, NIU’s Ron Carter, Steve Duke, and composition study with Les Thimmig and Rodrigo Villanueva.
The Madtown Mannish Boys are a Madison-based Blues band who are steeped in Chicago-style Blues, including artists like Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, Otis Spann, Paul Butterfield, and Little Walter. They play harmonica-driven tunes with gritty fervor and dynamic energy, and perform with raw exuberance and driving rhythms that make you want to boogie!
Andy Smith has a powerful and soulful voice, reminiscent of some of the greats from Blues and R&B. Paul Schwoerer wields his harmonica with a chip on his shoulder and plays with nimble intensity while Jesse “Honey Boy” Steinberg injects flurries of guitar riffs into the lively grooves laid down by Jesse Olson (piano), Tim Payne (bass), and Nate Morenek (drums). Jason Schultz (trombone) and Dan Resnick (saxophone) frequently join the Boys on stage.
The Mannish Boys have played at a variety of joints and festivals, including AtwoodFest, Bos Meadery, Blooze Krooze: Classic Car & Blues Festival, Brink Lounge, Bacon, Beer, & BBQ Festival, Capital Brewery, Chief’s Tavern, Club Tavern, Come Back In, Concerts at the Portage, Crystal Corner Bar, Edgewater Hotel, Fiery Foods Festival, Flatted Fifth, Frequency, Kochanski’s Concertina Beer Hall, Knuckle Down Saloon, Liliana’s, Live In the Park Concert Series in Waunakee, Me & Julio, Mr. Roberts, Nakoma Golf Club, Nomad World Pub, North Street Cabaret, Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Orchard Lawn, Riverfront Rondezvous Festival, Tyranena Brewing Company, Up North Bar, Verona Concerts in the Park, Vintage Brewing Company, Wisconsin Brewing Company, Woodshed Ale House, and WORT Festival.
We’ve been getting rave reviews. For example, Chris Kalmbach (owner of the Knuckle Down Saloon) recently wrote: “It is a very rare thing, and more rare as the years go by, to have a new Blues Band come on the scene with such energy, purpose and talent. I haven’t seen such a thing in many, many years. All of these guys have have very involved lives outside the band, but still throw everything they’ve got into every show. These days we always seem to be looking for new champions to take up the torch for our precious brand of music. These guys wear that mantle like it was made for them. Madison’s Blues scene owes these guys a debt of gratitude. Please support them wherever they play.”
For the past thirteen years I have been on the move. I grew up in Chicago, attended Marquette University and after graduation, moved to Los Angeles to pursue something as a musician. While there I recorded an album entitled There and Back. A little while later I moved into my van with my dog, played all the contiguous United States at night, and then slept in parking lots and rest stops. After a year and a half of that nonsense I moved back to Milwaukee and married my college sweetheart. At that point I started a band called The Union, and we began recording my second record, Tenebrae, in Lexington, KY. We then accomplished the third, Offering, also in Lexington, KY. Finally, we finished the fourth, Red-winged Blackbird Man, in Iowa City, IA. All of that production was over the span of seven years.
Within that time I co-founded something called The Cor Project with speaker and author, Christopher West. I toured the country and traveled the world. That endeavor, combined with my music and band, has taken me deep into places I never would have imagined I’d go. I mean this physically, spiritually, and emotionally; some have been good, and some horrible. I’ve gained some amazing friends, lost a few as well. I’ve been lifted so high and let down so much. I have had a few accomplishments and many more failures. I’ve met some fascinating people and some surprisingly toxic ones too.
In the past year and a half I have begun a few new projects while maintaining my music career. The first being my new record, recorded back in LA and due out sometime in the future. The second is my podcast, “Time and The Mystery: Conversations with Mike Mangione.” T&M is a conversational podcast in which I sit with public figures I have come to know over the years to discus their inspiration, process, and ability to connect with others through their work. Last, but not least, is my blog of the same name (sans the “conversations with Mike Mangione”). The purpose of this blog is to be the platform for what’s underneath it all: stories, reflections, conversations, and opinions will all find a home here. I find myself in strange places and sometimes with incredible people doing fantastic things and so … I want to share. I don’t consider myself very smart, opinionated, or an expert on anything. I see and experience things around me, I am affected and moved by them and so I create. This is a product of that pattern meant simply to be taken, but never too seriously.
Ken Hoffman, Johannes Wallmann, Ben Ferris & Rodrigo Villanueva
Johannes Wallmann releases new jazz album
Love Wins to celebrate marriage equality
Pianist and composer was co-plaintiff in the ACLU trial
that brought marriage equality to Wisconsin
Johannes Wallmann’s new album Love Wins on the Fresh Sound New Talent label documents the marriage equality trials in the pianist/composer’s adopted home state of Wisconsin, and celebrates a universal message of love, longing, acceptance, and social justice.
Wallmann and his husband Keith Borden moved to Madison in 2012 for Wallmann to lead the jazz program at the University of Wisconsin. The two had been together for fifteen years and had been legally married for five years; however, the state of Wisconsin did not recognize the marriage that they had taken for granted while living in California, in effect treating them as legal strangers. When Wallmann and Borden heard in 2014 that the ACLU was seeking couples to challenge Wisconsin’s prohibition on recognizing same-sex marriages, they agreed to become one of eight co-plaintiff couples in the suit Wolf v Walker that led federal courts in the Western District of Wisconsin and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to rule Wisconsin’s prohibition on same-sex marriage unconstitutional. The US Supreme Court let the lower courts’ rulings stand, bringing marriage equality to Wisconsin and four other states on October 6, 2014.
When the state appealed the initial verdict from the District Court, Wallmann was unable to attend the hearing at the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in person; however, the court released the audio recordings from the hearing the next day, and as Wallmann listened to the lawyers’ arguments and the judges’ questions, he began imagining a new suite of music, incorporating the audio recording of the trial (this became the basis of track 5, “The Seventh Circuit”).
For the album’s lyrics, Wallmann teamed up with another Madison musician, spoken-word artist Rob Dz, a veteran of Wisconsin’s hip-hop community who is also an accomplished improviser equally at home in jazz. Dz was the perfect partner for the project, says Wallmann: “Rob did tremendous research, read up on the history of the movement, and even got to know other plaintiff couples. From that base of knowledge and specificity, Rob crafted a universal message about love, dignity, equality, and hope. In today’s uncertain and troubling times, it will remind people that love can indeed win. And it can serve as inspiration for the many battles for equality that still lie ahead.”
Featuring eleven performers in varying combinations, the ten tracks of Love Wins mix classic jazz styles with New Orleans second-line and Afro-Cuban grooves, R&B and indie pop influences, odd-meter compositions, and free improvisation. Wallmann and Dz are joined by a core band of experienced, long-time musical collaborators of Wallmann’s: Milwaukee/NYC trumpeter Russ Johnson; L.A. saxophonist Dennis Mitcheltree; and a Wisconsin-based rhythm section of Kenny Reichert, guitar; John Christensen, bass; and Devin Drobka, drums. Saxophonist Dayna Stephens was recovering from kidney transplant surgery at the time of the recording, but later added baritone sax and EWI tracks from his home in New Jersey. Sharón Clark (D.C.), Jan Wheaton, and Keith Borden contributed vocals to one track each.
“We made an album that celebrates a moment in time when love and equality persevered,” says Wallmann. “Others are documenting the marriage equality struggle in writing or art. But as maybe the only jazz musician so directly involved in this fight, I had a special opportunity to create music for this moment.”
Born in Germany, Johannes Wallmann was raised on Canada’s Vancouver Island. He studied jazz piano and composition at Berklee College of Music in Boston (B.Mus., 1995) and at New York University (M.A., 1997; Ph.D., 2010), while winning numerous national music competitions and scholarships, as well as two Canada Council artist grants. After moving to New York City in 1995, he quickly established himself as a versatile and in-demand sideman in a wide-range of musical styles.
Among the most experienced jazz educators of his generation, Wallmann taught at New York University (1996-2007) and the New School (2003-2007) before relocating to Oakland to lead the jazz studies program at California State University East Bay. In 2012, he moved to the University of Wisconsin to become Director of Jazz Studies and the inaugural holder of the John and Carolyn Peterson Chair in Jazz Studies at UW’s acclaimed Mead Witter School of Music.
Wallmann has recorded six critically acclaimed CDs as a leader: The Johannes Wallmann Quartet (1997), Alphabeticity (2003), Minor Prophets (2007), The Coasts (2010) and Always Something (2015). His 2015 quintet album, The Town Musicians (Fresh Sound New Talent FSNT-469), was named an Editors’ Pick by DownBeat Magazine, which called it a “stunning collage of jazz styles and genres” and “a harmonious album from a lifetime of diverse sounds and experiences.” Midwest Record called The Town Musicians “a sizzling session of sitting down jazz” and “music that meets on the corner of complex and accessible,” and the UK’s Jazz Journal wrote, “If I were responsible for an album as good as this, I’d be shouting about it.”
Wallmann has toured extensively throughout North America, Europe, and Asia, including several national tours with the Dennis Mitcheltree Quartet, and performances at Massey Hall (Toronto), Carnegie (Weill Recital) Hall, Merkin Hall, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, the Brooklyn Conservatory, Renee Weiler Hall, Steinway Hall (New York City), the Hong Kong Coliseum (HK), Pacific Coliseum (Vancouver), SkyReach Center (Edmonton), the Taj Mahal (Atlantic City), and in major jazz clubs throughout North America and Germany (Birdland, The Blue Note, the 55 Bar, Yoshis, The Rex, the Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill, The Green Mill, Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, The Jazz Estate, The Jazz Gallery, Café Coda, and many more). Wallmann has recorded or performed with trumpeters Ingrid Jensen, Brian Lynch, Ralph Alessi, and Russ Johnson; saxophonists Gary Bartz, Seamus Blake, Phil Dwyer, Dayna Stephens, Pete Yellin, Dennis Mitcheltree, and Russ Nolan; tubaists Howard Johnson and Marcus Rojas; guitarist Gilad Hekselman; vibraphonist Christian Tamburr; bassists Jeff Andrews, Matt Penman, Sean Conly and Martin Wind; drummers Danny Gottlieb, Tim Horner, Jeff Hirshfield, Terry Clark and Donald Bailey; jazz singers Kevin Mahogany and Jackie Allen; operatic tenor Dr. Francois Clemmons and the Harlem Spiritual Ensemble; Four Other Brothers (IL); the Billings Symphony Orchestra and Canto-pop star Faye Wong
Charlie Baran has lived a life of music. Before moving the the United States he was a founding member of the legendary Honduran musical group Banda Blanca, who’s song “Sopa de Caracol” became the #1 Billboard Top Latin Songs hit in 1992. Now a maintenance man at a Catholic grade school by day, Charlie has kept his musical flame glowing largely through acoustic solo performances around Chicago for the past ten years.
Charlie Baran is a true virtuoso. No one sees him perform without recognizing the presence of a true master – an heir to a rich tradition of Honduran music, as well as a guitar slinging showman and a gifted songwriter whose skill transcends all genres. But throughout most of his career he has existed in the shadows – until the formation of Radio Free Honduras.
Radio Free Honduras is a diverse collective of Chicago musicians, all united under one goal – supporting the artistry of Charlie Baran and bringing this tremendous talent into the spotlight where it belongs. Founded by Dan Abu-Absi, longtime guitarist for JT and the Clouds and Birds of Chicago, Radio Free Honduras plays mostly Baran originals, but their live shows often feature a wide variety of reimagined cover songs. This band provides Charlie with the wide musical pallet his talent (and songs) deserve. Abu-Absi has gathered a large, revolving collective of some of Chicago’s most talented musicians; lively percussion, eclectic instrumentation, and rich harmonies all provide the backdrop, allowing Charlie to do what he does best – stunning guitar work, tapping into what seems a limitless supply of energy and enthusiasm for music.
Charlie Baran has lived a long and storied musical life – but very few are familiar with his side of the story. Radio Free Honduras has made it their mission to change that.
In Japanese folklore, the crane wife is a bird disguised as a woman who spins fine silks from her own feathers, until her identity is discovered. The Crane Wives spin fine songs from whole cloth, and you will never want the melodies to leave your head. From murky origins in Chinese restaurants, high school ska bands, and dorm room jam sessions, the band came together in 2010 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and immediately began gathering a following with intricate melodies, sister-harmonies, and compelling songcraft. Initially part of the indie folk boom, their sound has grown and broadened with each new recording till categorization becomes difficult: rock, pop, folk? Just call it really good music. Audiences and critics agree: seven "Jammie" awards from influential radio station WYCE in '11, '12, '16 and '17; winner of Best Folk/Country song from international competition ArtPrize for "Easier" in '12; and selection as one of ten "Entries We Loved" from the renowned NPR Tiny Desk Contest for "High Horse" in '17. Kate Pillsbury: guitars, vocals, a twinkle in her eye that tells you she sees through your BS but chooses to be amused by it. Emilee Petersmark: guitars, banjo, vocals, boots that will stamp out injustice wherever it may lurk. Ben Zito: bass, occasional howls, secret production weapon. Dan Rickabus: drums, harmony vocals, engineering, relentless and frankly exhausting levels of positivity. Four albums released to date: "Safe Ship, Harbored" (2011), "The Fool In Her Wedding Gown" (2012), "Coyote Stories" (2015), and "Foxlore" (2016), plus a series of new singles in 2017, all available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, Google Play, Bandcamp, CDBaby, and hell, even Myspace. If you want to hear about love, life, fear, hope, pain, and the occasional natural disaster, this band, and these songs, are for you.
This is a locals-only preview event for Midwest Vintage Flea, Spring '18!
In case you can't make the big event on Saturday 4/28, we offer a bit of hope! Good Style Shop, Picture Day, Same Page, and more Madison-based vendors will bring a limited collection of amazing warm-weather vintage clothing & blow-out sale items to the North Side's favorite venue, North Street Cabaret.
All-vinyl DJs all night and a performance by the illustrious Mr. Jackson!
Donations will be accepted in support for Porchlight housing assistance in the Madison area.
Featuring Dave Stoler-Piano, John Christiansen-Bass & Kieth Lienert-Drums
Consistently voted onto DownBeat magazine’s Rising Star Annual Critics Poll, Russ Nolan’s music is often described as High-Energy Modern Jazz that both satisfies the intellect of its musical peers and speaks to everyone on a soulful level. Called a ‘renaissance man’ by those close to him, he has taken his experiences in sports, martial arts, business, after-school program volunteering, music education, and other activities to relate to a wider audience across the US and Canada. His 2016 release of Sanctuary from the Ordinary – Live at Firehouse 12 was voted onto DownBeat’s Best of 2016
Russ is an accomplished and active Salsa dancer in NYC and has used his inspiration on the dance floor to craft his last four Latin and Modern Jazz releases Tell Me (2012) ; Relentless (2014) – featuring Latin Jazz Grammy Nominee Manuel Valera on piano; Call It What You Want (2015), and Sanctuary from the Ordinary – Live at Firehouse 12 (2016). Previous recordings include With You In Mind with the Kenny Werner Trio.
His original compositions draw influences from Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Bill Evans, Chick Corea and are infused with Afro-Cuban, Samba, Bossa Nova, Bolero, and Mambo rhythms. Russ’ ability to relate to non-jazz audiences is demonstrated in his jazz treatments of Pop Standards from The Beatles, Michael Jackson, and Stevie Wonder.
Authenticity in the music industry is slippery when wet. Everyone praises its value, yet when an artist is truly authentic, it is often only embraced if it can be easily walked on without slipping and landing in a pile of genre-related questions.
To the casual observer, Freddy & Francine seem safely cemented as a folk duo. They got the look. The soulful harmonies. The folk circuit bookings — over 150 a year, including the legendary Telluride Bluegrass Festival. They’re even getting married. Cute. Even their act’s name is cute. You could make a movie about it. Someone probably has.
But Freddy & Francine (their actual names are Lee Ferris and Bianca Caruso) aren’t interested in acting, or genres, or talking or not talking about their relationship. They’ve done all that. They’ve even recently left their longtime home of Los Angeles for Nashville. And they’ve never looked more like themselves.
“We just want to play music all the time and we don't care about the rest of the bullshit,” Ferris said.
And there’s been plenty of bullshit. The Hollywood types, the rat race, the traffic, Ferris’s struggle with alcoholism (he’s now five years sober). Longtime fans know that the band took a three-year hiatus when Ferris and Caruso’s relationship unraveled, a time which found Ferris turning his back on music while driving trucks in L.A., and Caruso working an office job in New York.
During this break, both seemingly were able to land on their feet. Ferris was cast as Carl Perkins in the Broadway and touring productions of Million Dollar Quartet, and Caruso co-wrote and filmed a television pilot in Joni Mitchell’s Laurel Canyon home (her friend rents it), featuring Seth Rogen, and sold the thing to ABC.
But appearances can be deceiving.
“I was miserable in the whole process, because I wasn't connected to myself in my gut,” Caruso said. “I didn’t enjoy it. I enjoy traveling and playing music.”
Despite rockin’ in Perkins’ blue suede shoes from Memphis to Japan, in front of thousands of people, Ferris was also unhappy because he was singing someone else’s songs.
“My heroes were Joni Mitchell, The Stones, Dylan, B.B. King, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Carl Perkins, the guys who just tapped into something in themselves, who needed to write and speak their own truth. That’s who I am,” Ferris said.
Adding, “The experience of sitting down with an instrument and coming up with something for the first time, you can’t beat that. The best experience I’ve ever had as a person doing that, and coming up with something that is bigger than the sum of its parts, is with Bianca.”
But this is all old news. Freddy & Francine are full-time musicians with three full-length albums and two EPs, with a new Nashville-recorded EP on the way. The six-song “Moonless Night,” co-produced by Dan Knobler (Lake Street Dive, Rodney Crowell) finds Freddy & Francine — which has often used full bands on its recordings — still produced but more intimately portrayed, a sound closer to the duo’s live performances.
But don’t call it folk music. It’s too energetic.
“We’re performers. We’re not just folk musicians who play and sing mellow songs with little voices … there’s screaming,” Caruso said.
Don’t call it Americana either. They don’t wear hats. Besides, Caruso says, “The minute you think one of our songs is an Americana song, it can turn into a retro pop song.”
Despite the reaction of most roots music fans to the dreaded “P” word, Caruso says she doesn’t mind Freddy & Francine being labeled a pop band.
“Pop music gets a bad rap, but it comes from the word ‘popular.’ I’d love to be popular,” she said. “I never discriminate against a song because it’s popular if it stays in your head … every Beatles song is a pop song.”
But mostly, Freddy & Francine sounds like Freddy & Francine. It ain’t the easiest thing to explain, but it makes sense when you hear it, and finally, it makes sense to the two people who matter most.
“I’m really happy with who I am and I'm happy with the life I have,” Ferris said.
At the end of the day, or road, authenticity is internal. Watch your step.
It didn't take long for David Wimbish's solo project to become a full band. The community that had inspired his music quickly began to embody the songs, wielding instruments last played in middle school marching band, and fulfilling 'the Collection's name. Coming from Greensboro, North Carolina, their songs stem from an awareness of their state's folk roots, and an appreciation of orchestral and world music. After the loss of dear friends and family, the band released their first full length, "Ars Moriendi", featuring over 25 musicians, and wrestling with questions of mortality and spirituality. As the last year has brought more focus to the Collection, both in size and in vision, they released their new record, "Listen To The River," while still retaining their original inspiration and muse - the community of those intrigued by the mystery of life."
Vocals, Guitar, Keys, Strings / David Wimbish
Keys, Synth, Vocals / Sarah McCoy
Bass, Vocals / Hayden Cooke
Drums / Joshua Linhart
Trombone, Trumpet, Autoharp, Bells, Perc / Graham Dickey
Harmonium, Bells, Electric Guitar, Vocals / Joshua Ling
Moon Ruin’s Slow Down Ego inhabits a world where gauzy vocal washes glide across sinewy melody, soulful horn charts rise from the sonic mist only to fall away as a twinkling piano runs joust playfully with syncopated electronic percussion. Palpably atmospheric and profoundly transporting, Slow Down Ego is the sound of persistence and sacrifice, born in that flash of a creative gap flitting between real-life obligation.
Slow Down Ego is the creation of Jared Bartman, but it was not formed in a vacuum. Birthed in the refuge of makeshift basement studios, and featuring co-conspirators Mike Noyce and Liam O’Brien, plus Bartman’s wife and children, the record is a tribute to the potential of partnership and the strength it provides; it is a document of community, of friendship, of family.
The narrative of Slow Down Ego starts some years ago in rural Illinois when Bartman began writing songs. After a handful of projects and a mercenary DIY touring schedule, life caught up with Bartman in a very visceral way and forced him to clarify his priorities. Balancing full and part-time jobs and the responsibilities of a new family, Bartman managed to maintain his drive for writing and recording music. For the years in which Slow Down Ego was made, this meant holding down the night shift as a US postal worker, sleeping for a few hours after work, and spending the remaining waking hours with his family and working on music.
The battle to nurture his creativity in the midst of life’s swirling difficulties only served to focus Bartman’s vision. The clouds parted, a modicum of stability was restored, and Bartman was able to refine his process and bring in collaborators to color in the sketches. With the addition of Noyce and O’Brien creativity bloomed, and the project quickly became a series of accords with the group agreeing unanimously before moving forward with any creative decision.
Bartman, Noyce, and O’Brien convened for numerous week-long sessions every few months between 2015 and 2017, and the work gradually took shape. After over two years of recording, arranging, and mixing in Bartman’s and Noyce’s home studios, and extensive mixing sessions at April Base in Fall Creek, WI, the trio put the record to bed.
Slow Down Ego is an album of intriguing sharp angles and deceptively dense structures. Each song appears as a carefully crafted bauble, a curio who’s meaning you sense at once, yet requires focused exploration to begin to fully grasp. Their shimmer captures your attention, and their warmth invites you in to sit a while with their complex arrangements, exciting more wonder with each puzzle solved. It is the sound of an artist creating exactly what he means to.
Moon Ruin is the new music project of Jared Bartman. Ephemeral yet timeless, it is the home where Slow Down Ego can find repose. Having released music under his namesake for ten years, the move to Moon Ruin is a throwing off of preconceived notions and the pressure of expectation. Slow Down Ego is a manifestation of internalized anxiety; that uneasy feeling that follows you like a melancholy ghost. It nags your decisions and creeps into idle thoughts. As a catalyst to reckon with forces, both internal and external, it influences our lives.
More than all, though, Slow Down Ego is a sanctuary. The love child of Bartman, Noyce, and O’Brien, it shows we are better facing uncertainty and hardship in the arms of comrades. It is a haven, but it is not a retreat. It is an album of comfort, strife, resistance, and acceptance. It is Jared Bartman’s most fully-realized work yet, and a beacon that signals a path forward.
Randy Sabien and The Stellanovas (aka Chris Wagoner and Mary Gaines) play "cafe jazz"--intimate,swinging, original, dynamic music accompanied by unique instrumentation...violin, accordion, cello, ukulele, Hawaiian guitar, electric guitar, and vocal
Fiddler, singer, and stepdancer April Verch knows how relevant an old tune can be. She was raised surrounded by living, breathing roots music—her father’s country band rehearsing; the lively music at church and at community dances; the tunes she rocked out to win fiddle competitions. She thought every little girl learned to stepdance at the age of three and fiddle at the age of six. She knew nothing else and decided early on that she wanted to be a professional musician.
She took that leap, and for over two decades has been recording and captivating audiences worldwide, exploring new and nuanced places each step of the way. On February 17, 2017, she will release The April Verch Anthology (Slab Town Records), an 18-track collection celebrating her life’s work. Hand-picked by Verch, the songs on this compilation offer an enchanting mix of regional Canadian, American old-time, bluegrass, country and Americana tracks.
The April Verch Anthology is a testament to the many chapters in Verch’s musical journey. Moving from exuberant stepdancer to fiddle wunderkind and silver-voiced singer; from upstart prodigy to mature and reflective songwriter, interpreter, and storyteller. The compilation is an excursion through Verch’s 1998-2015 recordings, featuring tunes and songs dear to Verch as well as a healthy dose of fan favorites and two newly recorded tracks. “Through this anthology, I am reminded of the inspirations with which I began and of the hopes I hold for the future. I take a moment to reflect and to celebrate,” says Verch.
While Verch is perhaps best known for playing traditional fiddle styles from her native Ottawa Valley, Canada, her performances extend into old-time American and Appalachian styles and far beyond, for a well-rounded tour-de-force of North Americana sounds. Verch and her fellow trio members pare down their arrangements, highlighting the simple pleasures of upright bass, guitar, clawhammer banjo, voices, fiddle, and stepping in intimate conversation. At the heart lie Verch’s delicate voice, energetic footwork, and stunning playing. Sometimes she sings, steps and fiddles all at once, with apparent ease and precision. Verch is – as they say – a triple threat in performance, her live show a beautiful companion to her music: versatile, robust, and masterfully executed.
Verch began her full time touring career in 2000 and has performed around the world, including festival, theatre and performing arts centre appearances in Canada, USA, China, Australia, United Kingdom, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France, Spain, Czech Republic and the United Arab Emirates. She also presents workshops, master classes, and lectures as part of her tours and at selected music camps.
Verch won’t be the one to tell you about her championship titles, nominations, and awards, or the fact that she was one of 6 fiddlers who represented the Canadian fiddle tradition to the world at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, as part of a segment called “Fiddle Nation”. Instead, in speaking with her, you’ll hear about how passionate she is about sharing her music; in small gatherings in remote communities in Iqaluit, to large prestigious concert halls like Mozartsal in Vienna.
Even as she plays with the tradition she inherited, Verch keeps the community-fired celebratory side of her music at the forefront, honing a keen awareness of how to engage contemporary listeners. It’s why Rolling Stone cited her “One of the 12 best things we saw at MerleFest in 2016.”
“Just as contemporary bluegrass has Alison Krauss as an ambassador, the Ottawa Valley has April Verch,” said NPR’s Marco Werman on “The World.” And Verch never forgets the roots of her music, that connection to the people out there in the audience, on the dance floor, to the community sparked by a good song. “It’s about joining together to celebrate everyday life, through music. We’re all in this together.”
Caravan is a world traveling acoustic instrumental jazz group from Madison, WI. They are primarily influenced by the legendary Gypsy Jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt. The ensemble also pulls influence from American Swing, Jazz, Latin, Parisian Waltz, European Folk and other vintage Jazz sources!
"The Acolpados explores the nuances of Latin American and Caribbean folk/popular music by using our voices, the cajon and the guitar to reinvent melody, harmony and rhythm in order to take you on a journey through the music that we love. Come experience music that takes you to the "llanos" of Venezuela, the "solares" of Cuba, the "callejones" of Lima Peru, and leaves you in a place completely different and unexpected.."
To classify Chris Duarte simply as a Blues Man is an understatement. In his own words, “rockin’ blues” or ”punk blues” describes him best. “Ferocious blues” also fits. Legend has it that Chris will play so hard that his fingers bleed in a set. The legend is true. Photos attest.
Chris Duarte is a road warrior playing more than 150 dates a year. As well, Chris has headlined major festivals and clubs throughout the US, Canada and Europe.
Chris is a savant, a sorcerer of tone, a master at channeling the spirits and sounds of great musicians of our past, while remaining completely recognizable in his own sound. He has shared his stage with many of the greatest musicians of our time as well as the multitude of “young lions” and local musicians he meets on the road. From his many years as a side man in Austin, he easily changes roles from front to side, graciously allowing all to share the conversation of the jam.
Chris Duarte’s music is ever changing. In many interviews, he has said “Music must evolve.” His own early offerings often become magical journeys into changing tempo and jazzy interludes before returning to their core. With such a vast catalog of recordings, there are no two shows alike. Every set list is different, and each song may be offered distinctly, based on the feel of a show and the audience. For those reasons, loyal fans often return to a Chris Duarte show again and again, and always walk away awed and satisfied to have witnessed such a legendary, but humble guitarist.
The Chris Duarte Group emerged on the scene out of Austin, Texas in the early 90’s and gained notoriety after wowing a packed room of industry insiders at the South X Southwest convention. In the wake of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s passing, Duarte quickly gained a National reputation as young man imbued with a playing style comparable at times to the late guitarist. After fielding interest from a number of labels, Duarte signed to Silvertone Records and his debut album “Texas Sugar/Strat Magik” reportedly sold in excess of 100,000 units in the United States, no small feat for a blues/rock guitarist. This coupled with Duarte’s strong commitment to touring, was the impetus for Chris’ winning the “Best New Talent” in Guitar Player’s 1995 Reader’s Poll. He also finished fourth in the magazine’s “Best Blues Guitarist” category that year behind legends Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy and B.B. King.