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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

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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

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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

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.    

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

BOBBY RUSH

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.”  

85

Show 85: MAR 03 to MAR 09, 2017

THORNETTA DAVIS

MAR

2017

Thornetta Davis is the reigning Queen of Detroit Blues whose latest album “Honest Woman” has been climbing the music charts and earned her two Blues Music Award nominations. She confesses that her recent studio effort that has earned national critical acclaim was 20 years in the making. She was mentored by the great late Alberta Adams. The Queen has also had her music featured on the hit cable series Sopranos and has performed many times with Bob Seger, Kid Rock and Iggy Pop.

84

Show 84: FEB 24 to MAR 02, 2017

ELVIN BISHOP

FEB

2017

Elvin Bishop is a living legend whose great contributions to American music have been solidified by his induction into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame followed soon after by the Blues Hall of Fame. He played a significant role in the success of the Paul Butterfield Band as a founding member and the lead guitarist on three classic albums during the 1960's before becoming a regular at the famed Fillmore Auditorium jam sessions alongside Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and BB King. Elvin had a top Billboard smash hit in 1976 with the gold record “Fooled Around And Fell In Love” which was prominently featured in a recent blockbuster film. Following his 2014 Grammy-nominated album, his new critically acclaimed release is called “Big Fun Trio” out now on the Alligator record label.

87

Show 87: MAR 24 to MAR 31, 2017

MIKE WHEELER

MAR

2017

Mike Wheeler is regarded as one of the hardest working blues guitarist in Chicago. He cut his teeth performing with Muddy Water’s last piano player, Lovie Lee before getting gigs with the likes of Son Seals, Willie Kent, Koko Taylor, Jimmy Johnson and Big James. Now he commands his own band and released his second studio effort for Chicago’s legendary Delmark Records called “Turn Up!!” In 2014 Mike joined a legendary class of musicians after he was inducted into the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame.

88

Show 88: MAR 31 to APR 06, 2017

TRUDY LYNN

APR

2017

Trudy Lynn is considered by many to be the reigning Queen of Houston Blues. She cut her teeth as a singer for Clarence Green, Johnny Copeland and Albert Collins before becoming a franchise artist on the Atlanta based Ichiban Records during the 90’s where several of her albums charted on the US Billboard R&B. She has continued to record strong through the 2000’s to present day racking up many Blues awards nominations along the way to her latest studio effort, “I’ll Sing the Blues for You.”

89

Show 89: APR 07 to APR 13, 2017

BILLY FLYNN

APR

2017

Billy Flynn cut his teeth with the likes of Jimmy Dawkins, Johnny Littlejohn and Big Jay McNeely. From sharing the Apollo Theater stage with Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, Billy Gibbons and others to backing Beyonce Knowles at Barack Obama's Neighborhood Inaugural Ball and on her Grammy winning single from the movie Cadillac Records; from his prolific sideman work to his ten albums as a leader, Billy Flynn is a true-blue heir of Delmark's storied legacy. His latest studio effort, Lonesome Highway features 16 new original songs and special guest vocalist Deitra Farr. Kim Wilson, who regularly calls Billy for sessions, observes calls Flynn 'one of the greatest blues guitarists alive and one of the greatest to ever live.'

91

Show 91: APR 21 to APR 27, 2017

COCO MONTOYA

APR

2017

Coco Montoya is a California native who is one of the biggest names on the contemporary blues scene. After hanging up his drum sticks for a guitar pick, he cut his teeth with legends Albert Collins and John Mayall before leaving the sideman role behind to break out as a solo artist. A move that has done well for Coco over the years as he celebrates his 5th Alligator studio release, ‘Hard Truth.’ Coco is one of the most exciting, hardest working and in demand performers the blues has to offer.  

92

Show 92: APR 28 to MAY 04, 2017

STEVIE J BLUES

APR

2017

Stevie J Blues is a veteran blues guitarist from Jackson, Mississippi who cut his teeth on the scene with the likes of Denise LaSalle, Shirley Brown, Dorothy Moore, Mel Waiters and toured with Bobby Rush for five years. He is the son of a sanctified preacher but considers Bobby Rush as his “blues father.” He’s featured as a session player on multiple Bobby Rush albums. Stevie can be seen in the Martin Scorsese series, “The Blues.” His new album, “Back 2 Blues” is the third solo studio effort and represents a modern sound for the contemporary blues category.  

93

Show 93: MAY 05 to MAY 11, 2017

SHARON LEWIS

MAY

2017

Sharon Lewis is a Chicago blues diva who’s commanding vocals and strong song writing is celebrated on her second studio effort for Delmark Records, ‘Grown Ass Woman.’ Sharon arrived to Chicago via Texas and has made a big impact on the local scene since going pro during the 90’s. Since then, she was mentored by Son Seals and shared the stage with the who’s who of blues legends before becoming friends with the famed British folk-rock band, Mumford & Sons. Sharon remains in high demand on the international circuits and has been nominated for numerous prestigious awards. She holds dual undergraduate degrees from Northwestern University.

93R

Show 93R: May 11 to May 18, 2017

HENRY GRAY

MAY

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

Heard on this Episode

BRAND

New Blues

Selwyn Birchwood

Heavy Heart

Pick Your Poison

Alligator

2017

BLUES at

The Break

WAY WAY

Back Blues

Jazz Gillum

I'm Gonna Leave You..

074648-1

Blue Bird RCA

1942

BLUES

Soundbite

Magic Slim

Interview

Argentina TV

La Viola

2008

 

BLUES

KickOff

Primer/Corritore

Hold Me in Your Arms

Ain't Nothin You Can ...

Delta Groove

2017

Welch/Ledbetter/Chavez

Big Mama

Right Place, Right Time

Delta Groove

2017

94

Show 94: MAY 18 to JAN 25, 2017

PRIMER & CORRITORE

MAY

2017

John Primer and Bob Corritore are two of the top names in the blues who celebrate their sophomore studio collaboration for Delta Groove Records with “Ain’t Nothin You Can Do.” John Primer is a living legend who credits Sammy Lawhorn as a mentor and cut his teeth on the tough Chicago scene with Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon and Magic Slim before breaking out as a dynamic and popular solo artist. His album “Muddy Waters 100” was nominated for a Grammy award and was widely regarded as the best blues album of 2015. Bob Corritore is a well-respected producer who has emerged as one of the top sidemen in the business. His versatility on the harmonica can summon the spirit of Walter Horton or shuffle with his contemporary peers.

 
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