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JERRY LAWSON

JUST A MORTAL MAN

The ‘Jerry Lawson Legacy Project,’ an exclusive series for Blues America, explores the history of Jerry Lawson and the legendary Persuasions in chronological order as explained in a biographical commentary by Jerry and Julie Lawson with special guests.

Jerry Lawson is arguably one of the most important figures in the genre of a’cappella (singing without the use of instrumental accompaniment). For more then 40 years, Lawson was the lead singer, producer, arranger and founding member of the Persuasions, the most famous a’cappella group to date, and the only performers of their genre to earn worldwide mainstream success. Jerry Lawson and the Persuasions have undoubtedly done more to popularize a’capella then anyone else before or since. Lawson launched a solo career in 2004 soon after releasing an album with Talk of the Town and appearing on CBS's the Sing-Off. At the age of 71, he is releasing his first solo album on Nashville Red Beet Records, 'Just a Mortal Man.'

Blues America is a public radio series broadcasting weekly from the Chico Chism Studio in Phoenix and providing an outlet for Blues artists to share their stories. There's nothing like it!

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Morgan Freeman

Blues Photo

64

Show 64: Sep 16 to Sep 22, 2016

LIL ED WILLIAMS

SEP

2016

Lil Ed Williams is one of a kind. With his trademark Fez hat which symbolizes an African crown and his torturous slide guitar, Lil Ed Williams embodies the spirit of his famous uncle, J.B. Hutto and has become one of the biggest names in the blues. He is an award winning artist who is set to release his ninth full-length recording for acclaimed Alligator records called ‘The Big Sound of Lil Ed & the Blues Imperials.’ When he hits the road to promote his new album, he’ll be greeted by mobs of devoted followers called “Ed Heads”; with popular late night talk-show host Conan O’Brien being their most high profile member.

KEEP THE BLUES ALIVE

SWMAF

Southwest Musical Arts Foundation

FUNDING AND PROMOTIONAL CONSIDERATION MADE POSSIBLE BY:

68

Show 68: Oct 21 to Oct 27, 2016

BILLY BOY ARNOLD

OCT

2016

Billy Boy Arnold is one of a handful of musicians still standing to talk about the vibrant and important Chicago blues scene of the 1950’s. He was first inspired by John Lee Sonny Boy Williamson who he considered to be the most important purveyor of modern blues harmonica. After several meetings with Sonny Boy, while only a teenager, he cut his first two sides for the cool label before meeting Ellas McDaniel. Soon after, Arnold was in the studio with McDaniel cutting the two-sided smash “Bo Diddley/I'm a Man” for Checker which forever branded McDaniel with the moniker, Bo Diddley. This session led to Arnolds own hits for Veejay Records, “I Wish You Would” and “I Ain’t Got You.” Both hits put Arnold on the map and were later covered by British rockers the Yardbirds.

MUST LISTEN

77

Show 77: JAN 06 to JAN 12, 2017

BISCUIT MILLER

JAN

2017

Biscuit Miller, who is only one a handful of bass players who leads a band, just released his third studio effort, the critically acclaimed Wishbone. Miller is a Blues Music Award Winner who recorded with the late Sonny Rodgers and Mojo Buford before touring with Lonnie Brooks for 10 years. Later he toured with Anthony Gomes and co-wrote the chart burner, “Testify.” Born and raised in Chicago, Miller is known for his high energy shows and his million dollar blues with a smile.  

78

Show 78: JAN 13 to JAN 20, 2017

CEDRIC BURNSIDE PROJECT

JAN

2017

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

79

Show 79: JAN 20 to JAN 26, 2017

HENRY GRAY

JAN

2017

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. Later that year he lost everything he owned in a flood disaster that devastated communities in his home state of Louisiana.

81

Show 81: FEB 03 to FEB 09, 2017

OSCAR WISLON

FEB

2017

Standing 6’3” tall and weighing over 300 pounds, Oscar Wilson is a larger-than-life charismatic front man that carries on the great Chicago blues tradition. He is best known as the downhome singer of the Cash Box Kings. He grew up on the Southside of Chicago and lived in the same neighborhood as Smokey Smothers and David Honey Boy Edwards.  The group’s latest album, Holding Court (Blind Pig Records) – has struck a favorable chord with the blues-loving public, overseas and closer to home, as well.

80

Show 80: JAN 27 to FEB 02, 2017

JIMMY DUCK HOLMES

JAN

2017

Jimmy Duck Holmes is one of the last country guitar players of the Bentonia Blues style following in the footsteps of legends like Henry Stuckey, Jack Owens and Skip James. In fact, Henry was the first to teach him guitar and Jack was the last. He also operates one of the oldest juke joints called the Blue Front Café which is part of the Mississippi Blues Trail. This establishment was started by his parents 70 years ago. Most recently it was announced that an image of Jimmy will appear on a US Postage stamp.  

82

Show 82: FEB 10 to FEB 16, 2017

PIERRE LACOCQUE

FEB

2017

Harmonica Ace, Pierre Lacocque is the founder and leader of Mississippi Heat which has been a hallmark band in the Chicago area for decades and a franchise brand for the Delmark Record label. Pierre is from Belgium and began performing on the Chicago scene with greats like Sunnyland Slim and Jimmy Rogers during the 90’s. His group released their sixth studio effort with Delmark, Cab Driving Man, which has received rave fanfare and topped the blues charts for consecutive months. Their lead singer, Inneta Visor, a star in her own right, has cemented the bands vocal foundation for over a decade and has been nominated for a Koko Taylor Award.  

83

Show 83: FEB 17 to FEB 23, 2017

Heard on this Episode

BOBBY RUSH

BRAND

New Blues

Thornetta Davis

I Gotta Sing the Blues

Honest Woman

Sweet Mama Music

2016

BLUES at

The Break

Elvin Bishop

Can't Take No More

Big Fun Trio

Alligator Records

2017

WAY WAY

Back Blues

Ed Bell

She's Got a Nice Line

150-302-1

Columbia

1930

BLUES

Soundbite

Elmore James

Conversation

Outtake

Fire/Fury/Joy Collection

1963

BLUES

KickOff

Bobby Rush

I Don't Want Nobody

Porcupine Meat

Rouner

2016

FEB

2017

Speaking backstage with the “King of the Chitlin’ Circuit”, the Living Legend, Bobby Rush. One of the last of his era, Rush estimates that he has cut over 337 sides since he first began making music. After being honored with three Grammy nominations, he accepted his first Grammy trophy for his newest sensational Rounder Records release “Porcupine Meat.” Bobby has also racked up 41 nominations and 10 awards from the Blues Foundation, and a 2006 induction into the Blues Hall of Fame. The creator of “Folk-Funk” scored his first gold record with the 1971 immortal hit classic “Chicken Heads.”  

 
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