Duke Robillard was one of the founding members of Roomful of Blues in the late Sixties. Then, he replaced Jimmie Vaughan in the Fabulous Thunderbirds in 1989. But, his solo career has been arguably more adventurous than either of those two bands. Duke’s love is delving into the various facets of classic American music. His latest offering, Calling All Blues, is a summation of the different styles of blues music, from Memphis to Mexico, from jazz swing to nasty rock, brooding, shuffling, there’s a lot here. We talk to the “ambassador of the blues” about how he broke his hand but continued to play guitar for the new record, playing to blues fans all over the world, and getting to release his new album on vinyl.
Despite his famous last name, Devon Allman has forged a path uniquely his own, beginning with his band, Honeytribe in 1999, then more recently, the Royal Southern Brotherhood, and his solo career. Now, hot on the heels of 2013’s Turquoise comes Allman’s finest work to date, Ragged & Dirty, an album that straddles Chicago blues with his Southern roots. We talk his improving guitar work, touring overseas, and why he chose to cover the Spinners’ classic “I’ll Be Around.”
Singer / songwriter Seth Walker has perfected his own unique blend of blues, soul & folk over his last few records. His eighth album, Sky Still Blue, continues in that vein, proving that people can actually still put together an entire record of good tunes. He talks about moving to New Orleans, turning up the volume on the guitars on this album, writing songs with country legend Gary Nicholson.
He’s been called the Godfather of British blues – John Mayall – and he’s been at it more than 50 years. His Bluesbreakers band acted as a launching pad for some of the greatest musicians of all time – Eric Clapton, Peter Green, and Mick Taylor all spent time honing their chops in his band. Mayall, who has never stopped touring and assembling stellar bands, is back with his first new studio record in five years, A Special Life on Forty Below Records. He’s released somewhere in the ballpark of 60 albums, but this one is still full of vitality. We talk the recording of his new record, how he first got interested in the blues, and what made The Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton so special.
Singer Annika Chambers has taken an interesting road to the blues. She served eight years in the US Army, rising to the rank of Sergeant and having two deployments to Iraq and Kosovo. While on base, she entered a talent contest, singing lead on a song. After she finished, she was approached by a guitarist that introduced her to the blues – and she’s been an avid fan ever since. Now, back in her hometown of Houston Texas, she’s teamed up with a stellar lineup of local musicians, dubbed appropriately the “Houston All Stars” for her debut album, Making My Mark.
Few artists can still bring it like Delbert McClinton. In a career that’s spanned over 50 years, he’s accomplished a great deal. He had his first taste of success lending the signature harmonica part to Bruce Channel’s “Hey Baby.” That was 1962. Along the way, he’s won three Grammys and released 28 albums. Yet he’s shown no sign of slowing down.
His latest release is Blind, Crippled & Crazy, a reunion with fellow Texan Glen Clark after a short 40 year hiatus. The twelve track disc is full of the kind of humor that can only come from guys who have lived a lot, yet learned very little. We talk reuniting with Clark after 40 years, advice he gave his son in the music business, and his yearly Sandy Beaches Cruise which is heading out again in the winter.
Lisa Biales has been called the Belle of the Blues. She’s always done things with a bent toward the past, but her seventh album, Singing in My Soul, takes things to a whole different level. Drawing on a diverse set of legendary songs, from Sister Rosetta Tharpe, to Mississippi John Hurt, from “Write Me in Care of the Blues” to “I Only Have Eyes For You” – Biales has crafted a classic-sounding album. But her strong, clear vocals manage to breathe new life into these vintage tunes. We talk to the Ohio native about the different approach she took to this new record, and how playing the role of Patsy Cline in a local theater production gave her new respect for the pioneering country singer.
With a last name like Allman, there’s going to be heightened expectations, but Devon Allman certainly delivers the goods. After spending several years in the band Honeytribe, and more recently the supergroup the Royal Southern Brotherhood, Devon has stuck out on his own for his first solo album, call Turquoise. Recorded in part at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis Tennessee, he’s crafted a very classic-sounding soul-rock album, full of honest lyrics, and supple guitar lines, that fit right in with those Allmans that have come before him.
Singer Barbara Carr has had a long and interesting career, which began when she signed with the legendary Chess label in 1966, recording singles like “Don’t Knock Love.” But, when her career didn’t take off right away – she walked away to raise a family. But, the music called her back. She and her husband formed their own record label and began releasing albums on her own. A contract with Echo Records heated things up in the late Nineties, with a string of sexually bold singles like “Footprints on the Ceiling,” and “If You Can’t Cut the Mustard.”
Now Barbara’s back with a brand new disc produced by Johnny Rawls called Keep the Fire Burning.
Omar Dykes is celebrating 50 years in the music business with the release of a brand new album, his first with his band, the Howlers in eight years, I’m Gone. We talk with the blues survivor about hooking back up with many of the musicians that’ve played with him over the years, his unique recording technique (no rehearsing allowed!), and the release of his first-ever career retrospective, Omar & the Howlers Essential Collection. He also tells a great story about sneaking “across the tracks” to hear the music of the blues.