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  • Your Complete Guide to the Chica
    I have that A lot of people go to work every day and they hate their gig But I love mine so I feel honored all the time It s just a little icing on the cake for me that people appreciate me Q Unfortunately blues legend Koko Taylor passed away last year A lot of people said that you would inherit her title as Queen of the Blues Do you accept that title Not really because in my mind and heart Koko will always be the Queen of the Blues I m honored that people would say that I have the goods But she will always be the Queen of the Blues as far as I am concerned Q Would you consider her a musical influence Absolutely Not only that she was also a personal influence because she was such a great lady She was so sweet to me She would call me just to see how was I doing And when she didn t believe me when I told her how I was doing she d call my mom to make sure I was telling her the truth photo Jennifer Wheeler Q Alligator Records just released Deluxe Edition which features tracks from your Alligator albums over the years Are you happy with the tracks they chose for the album Yes I ve never done a song I didn t want to do in the first place so anything they would have picked I would have said That s cool Q Of course last year you released Never Going Back your debut on the Telarc label Are you working on any new music What should people expect from the new CD Well I haven t started working on anything yet You can have ideas in your mind but things kind of start taking shape when you start working on it I think it will be definitely in the same vein as what I was trying to do with Never Going Back Q What were your main goals for that album I wanted to be more honest with my feelings and thoughts about what was going on in the world I m at the age 31years old for that now When I was just getting started nobody wanted to hear a teenager spew their opinions about what they think is going on in the world because they don t know shit Q Do you think your dad is still an influence on you Absolutely I listen to him all the time just to get inspired It s all about how you were raised All the lessons I learned from him about being a musician and work ethic and all of that was great but he was a really great father too Q He brought you on stage at the Cotton Club in Harlem to sing when you were just eight Do you have any memories of that day I remember that plain as day I was scared to death That

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/features/shemekia-copeland/shemekia-interview-page.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Tom Holland, interview with James Cotton's guitarist
    Peterson I had worked with the other guitarist Slam Allen around Chicago with a couple of other bands and he recommended me to James I started as a temporary guitarist and ended up staying seven years so far Q I m curious about the great vocalist on the CD What can you tell us about Slam Allen Slam has been working with James for 10 years now and is originally from Monticello NY about 90 miles north of NYC He s been playing for years and has a good following in New England He lived in Chicago for a short time when he first joined James band Q How long has James Cotton had his current band members Everyone has been with James at least three years Slam has been with James for 10 years I ve been with James for seven years Noel has been with James on and off since 1980 and Kenny Jr has been with the band for three years Q The rhythm section members are they related to Kenny Neal The drummer Kenny Jr is Kenny s son and bassist Noel Neal is Kenny s younger brother Q What musicians play on this CD and are the same ones currently touring with the James Cotton Band The band on the record has also been Cotton s road band for the last several years The band is Slam Allen on guitar and vocals myself on guitar and vocals on Sad Sad Day Noel Neal on bass and Kenny Neal Jr on drums And with Cotton on harp Q Why did James Cotton decide to do another CD What number album is this I guess he felt it was time to do another record he s very proud of his road band right now and I m guessing he figured it was time to do a record with the road band I think he s recorded around 30 albums over the course of his career Q Is this the first James Cotton CD you are on Yes first one of hopefully many more Q Do you have any special moments or stories in the making of this album that you can share Honestly we recorded the CD a while ago June of 2009 I don t really have anything that stood out but we spent a week down in Austin rehearsing and recording went to Antone s one night but outside of that it was pretty much all business Q How about a favorite cut Probably the two instrumentals With the Quickness and Blues for Koko That song was for Koko we started recording the CD the night that Koko died and that was the first track we cut that night Q Any special guests No special guests just James and his band doing what we do best playin the blues Q I noticed there are a few Muddy Waters tunes on this CD Do know why he chose to cover three Muddy songs James worked with

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/features/tom-holland-interview/tom-holland-interview-page.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Janiva Magness Inteview
    big deal in today s world I ve been touring more than I ever have in my life I ve done a ton of shows this year and it looks like 2011 will be another stellar year People keep turning out heavily for the shows and in this world in this economy that s a blessing photo Jennifer Wheeler Q How would you describe your music Are you blues are you R B are you soul or are you all of the above I would say all of the above I m definitely a blues artist But I think contemporary is an accurate description as opposed to traditional Q Do you think that if you hadn t sneaked in to see Otis Rush that you would be where you are today I have no idea What I think happened is that I had a profound spiritual experience when I was a young girl watching Otis Rush I am ever grateful for that Q What was it like watching him How did that impact you It was riveting He took me hostage that day He took my heart hostage I connected with that performance in a way that I had not ever connected with another human being And I really didn t understand what happened at the time I was 14 years old come on All I knew is that when I left that club whatever that was that I experienced I needed more of that I needed more of that thing So I began to seek that out that experience of being so deeply connected photo Jennifer Wheeler Q Last year you received the B B King Entertainer of the Year award How did it feel to receive an award like that let alone being only the second woman to receive the award It s really dreamy for me It s very very much like a dream I get kind of teary eyed when I think about it I m not a person that expects good things I m just not hard wired for it I m hard wired to work hard and just keep working That s what I do So when profoundly good things happen like that I m really shocked And that was such a huge moment for me And the fact that B B King was actually there last year handing out the awards and Bonnie Raitt was being his trophy girl was absolutely dreamlike But I know it happened for sure because there s pictures Q Did you ever have the chance to meet Koko Taylor Oh yes I had the great fortune in the last few years to become friends with Koko and her daughter Cookie My two greatest influences as an artist are Koko Taylor and Etta James When things come full circle like that and you are given an opportunity as an artist to actually meet your idols it s amazing Q On your tour I know you have been talking about

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/features/janiva-magness/janiva-magness-interview-page.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Harper Interview, Harper mixes land down under Australian grooves with blues
    influx of British people to that part of Australia and I guess there was a big love of blues music from the 60s with bands like Cream and Led Zeppelin Just by the fact that all those people moved there and became a major population that style of music went with it You naturally fell into that scene It was a big scene and then you had great bands like Midnight Oil that brought along the more political side of things like talking about the plight of the aborigines Q Was there something about hearing the blues that really resonated with you I think it was the honesty of it That is folk music to me it is telling a story That s what I like I didn t want to hear another one of those boy meets girl songs It just didn t interest me I think I naturally leaned toward performing that stuff myself Q When did you think of incorporating the didgeridoo in your music That only came about six years ago A friend of mine was a didgeridoo player and I never touched it in my life I never even thought about playing it even though I had made many aboriginal friends just through my music I had sort of fallen in love with the way the didgeridoo was incorporated into the songs And instead of getting someone else to play it I d thought I d give it a go It was a hard thing to do It took a lot of concentration and work I got a lot of help from some great aboriginal friends in Sydney They went out of their way to help me choose the right instrument and teach me about circular breathing and the history of the instrument itself I got a lot of love from the people that started using it and I can t even imagine the first person who picked up a hollow piece of wood and made a noise out of it Who thinks these things up Q Do you play it when you are writing songs How do you incorporate it in the music I love grooves One of my favorite groove masters in the world was Bill Withers I always thought he had the greatest grooves and people still play his music all the time He had some of the greatest bass grooves The thing that works great with the didgeridoo is that it s one note with a few chords in it So it s very haunting And when I combine that with a bass groove going along it just adds another element to the music I don t put the didgeridoo in all the songs I think that could get kind of dull It was tough for us because being signed to a blues label we were getting a lot of flak from people who were wondering what s this thing he s putting in his music Q So you ve had

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/features/harper-interview/harper-interview-page.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Interview: George Thorogood talks blues and baseball
    be a band leader We finally hooked up again 10 years ago 12 years ago We were reunited in a way Q That must have been an honor to meet Howlin Wolf I was long gone on his music long before I met Eddie I was a Howlin Wolf freak back in 1966 He was pretty much on his last legs when we met He died in January 1976 He wasn t long for the world So I was fortunate enough to catch him not only at the end of his career but his life Q Rounder just released Live In Boston 1982 I was just listening to it and it s really energetic it still sounds fresh to this day Are you happy that it s out there for people It s better to have something than nothing Rounder is a very heritage minded label Me I m like we did that an hour ago come on let s move on Q It seemed like you guys were really clicking back then You guys had just come off a tour with the Rolling Stones We re clicking now I was just finding my way around back then MTV was in its infancy at that point It was a very exciting time the early 1980s The 80s at that time was the new 60s The 70s were kind of drab and all these bands kept popping up in the late 70s like Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen All these bands grew up on the 60s music Everybody was kind of feeling their 60s roots At that time I didn t know if I was going to be a blues band or a rock band I m kind of stuck in between somewhere The money is in rock buddy Q What

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/features/george-thorogood/thorogood-page.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Trombone Shorty Interview
    love with New Orleans and he created this festival called the Bourbon Street Festival He brought us down and we headlined He has a club called the Bourbon Street Club and we went to play in front of 20 000 people on the street It was really fun Even though people couldn t really understand what I was saying they enjoyed the music and they were reacting to the sound and different textures Q Speaking of New Orleans you made four appearances on the show Treme this past year Do you think the show is putting the spotlight back on New Orleans I think everything is helping I definitely think the show is very authentic Not only is it helping put the city in the spotlight but it is also giving different views from people You are getting the real New Orleans besides the French Quarter I think it is definitely helping You have millions of people watching it They really get to see what we go through every day I m trying my best to represent the city as well as I can Plus the show is helping musically It s the most non commercial music that we have on TV Photo Jennifer Wheeler Q Is it even more special for you to be on the show because you grew up in Treme Anytime you get to be on TV representing what you love is always a special thing I m part of the rebuilding process The way I can help is through music Q This has been a huge year for you Did you think when the year started that you would have all these opportunities I didn t even think about it I ve been playing so long that the only thing I know how to do is just play and different things happen It s wonderful I just want to continue it and keep it going We get a lot of love from people that s what is most exciting That s my inspiration to keep going Q It seems like your career started out with a bang playing with Bo Diddley at age four Do you have vivid memories of that I remember playing that day with my brother James who is responsible for me playing music I remember we played in a parade during the Jazz Festival The people picked me up and crowd surfed me to the stage I got on stage with Bo Diddley and I remember blowing some loud notes just making some sound I don t even know if I was doing the right thing Q Do you remember him giving you any advice The only thing I remember is that he was looking at me and saying Blow Blow the horn Photo Jennifer Wheeler Q Your new CD Backatown features a number of guest musicians such as Lenny Kravitz Allen Toussaint and Mark Broussard and it was produced by Galactic s Ben Ellman Was this kind of like your

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/features/trombone-shorty/trombone-shorty-page.html (2016-02-15)
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  • Guitar Shorty Interview
    younger and shorter than the rest of his fellow members in a locally popular 18 piece orchestra Guitar Shorty has a long association with the Windy City dating back to 1957 when he cut his first single for Chicago s Cobra Records which was the first label for blues legends Otis Rush Magic Sam and Buddy Guy Blues great Willie Dixon got him into the studio and Guitar Shorty cut the single Irma Lee backed by Rush on second guitar Guitar Shorty s musical pedigree is long including touring with Ray Charles and Sam Cooke as a member in their bands I had the chance to talk to Guitar Shorty about his latest record Bare Knuckle out on Chicago based Alligator Records and about what keeps him playing and performing music Guitar Shorty at Chicago Blues Fest 2010 Photo Tim Holek Q How did you like playing at Chicago Blues Fest I had a lot of fun I get a lot of energy off the crowd Q What did Willie Dixon teach you He taught me how to create I didn t know at the time how to put feeling into the music He told me I had a lot of talent and he could see it I m very thankful that he took me under his wing Q How was it working with Sam Cooke He was the best He had a great voice and great personality He just drew the women I don t know what it was Photo Michael Kurgansky Q I understand you took your stage show from watching Guitar Slim on stage He would turn over on his stomach and put his guitar behind him People would have a fit because that was something they d never seen I figured if he could do it

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/features/guitar-shorty/guitar-shorty-interview-page.html (2016-02-15)
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  • The return of Rockin' Johnny
    down the power finesse and swing of post war Chicago bands like The ACES the much missed Myers brothers Louis and Dave and drummer Fred Below In fact the late bass legend Dave Myers went to go see the band so often that he was made an honorary member and was always seen smiling and talking about how he loved the way these boys played Special mention must go out to the best harmonica player you re never heard of the tremendously talented Martin Lang with his monstrous tone and swing heavily influenced by Little Walter Jacobs These guys had done their homework and have collaborated with and learned from a who s who of the elder statesmen of Chicago blues such as the much missed blues royalty who have since passed away The Myers Bros Big Smokey Smothers Little Arthur Duncan Jimmie Lee Robinson Johnny Dollar Jumpin Willie Cobbs Golden Big Wheeler Barkin Bill Eddie Burks John Brim Prez Kenneth Robert Plunkett and living legends such as Tail Dragger Jimmy Burns Sam Lay Eddie C Campbell L V Banks Lurrie Bell Billy Flynn Billy Boy Arnold Mary Lane Jimmy Dawkins Johnny B Moore and many more Photo Michael Kurgansky Rockin Johnny is thankfully now back busy with his own band again and also backing up his long time friends and mentors vocalists Mary Lane and Tail Dragger at some of the last of the funky West Side black neighborhood taverns One of these taverns Rooster s Palace is featured in a 2009 release Delmark recording from the one and only Howlin Wolf protégé Tail Dragger This very exciting DVD and CD Live at Rooster s Lounge features Rockin Johnny and Martin Lang along with special guest the legendary Jimmy Dawkins on menacing toned guitar Backing Tail Dragger at Rooster s Palace L to R Kevin Shanahan Rockin Johnny Tail Dragger Martin Lang Photo Jennifer Wheeler Johnny was recently featured in the fantastic Dutch blues magazine run by Rien Wisse called BLOCK It is an extremely impressive eight page full color article wish I could read it though that is chock full of amazing photos of Johnny and his many blues legend collaborators and his full discography including his early 45 on Trixie Lonely Guitar Frog Hop This article helped lead to a triumphant return of the Rockin Johnny Band to Europe for the 2010 Highlands Blues Fest in The Netherlands in June Rockin Johnny was a big highlight for many during this year s 2010 Chicago Blues Fest weekend especially for a lot of his fans who hadn t seen him in a while He did a fantastic job backing up Mary Lane at the Fest and then absolutely tore it up at the After Fest Party at Reggie s with his own set and backing up the wild jazzy funky blues guitarist Smiley Tillman who is also back on the scene after a very long absence Then he was seen the very next morning jamming at the Jazz

    Original URL path: http://www.chicagobluesguide.com/features/rockin-johnny/rockin-johnny-interview-page.html (2016-02-15)
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