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P. O. Box 4064                                                  Website:

Lynchburg, VA  24502-0064                                    E-Mail Address:

Tele. (434) 237-8080                                           Volume 9, Issue 1 (Apr/May/Jun 2004)





                                                                OUR 9th                  





The James River Blues Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, tax exempt, all volunteer organization governed by an elected Board of Directors.  The JRBS is dedicated to promoting and preserving blues music in the central and western areas of Virginia, and is an affiliated member of the Blues Foundation.




Jan Ramsey                    President                                   Ree Breeden                   At-Large

Vacant                           Vice-President                            Eric Hollandsworth         At-Large

Neil Pharis                     Secretary                                  Carolyn Mahone               At-Large

Everett Heath                Treasurer                                  Les Roark                       At-Large




Ree Breeden      


BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETINGS: Monthly, on the Wednesday before each membership meeting, ASIAN GRILL, 6015 Fort Ave., Lynchburg, 7:30 p.m.  MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS: Monthly, on the second Tuesday of each month, 7:30 p.m. at: THE BISTRO, 1208 Main Street,  Lynchburg.




Editor:                           Jan Ramsey                   Contributing Writers:     Bob Lauro


NOTE:  The JRBS quarterly Bluesletter is now published electronically through our website.  Printed editions will be mailed to those who do not have Internet access.  Deadline for submission of articles & advertisements is the 20th of the month prior to publication. The deadline for the Jul-Aug-Sept publication is June 20. The JRBS reserves the right to edit articles in order to fit the newsletter format and to ensure proper syntax.  If you would like your materials unedited, please state so with your submissions. Please submit via e-mail to:




These ad rates are for camera-ready art and per issue. 


Full page:           $35.00                                      1/4 page:              $15.00

1 /2 page:           $20.00                                      Business card:      $10.00


If at all possible, please submit advertisement payments in advance.  Thank you.



(Available at monthly meetings & most JRBS events and remote locations)


Large                $15.00                                       2X        $18.00  

X-Large             $15.00                                       3X        $20.00


  To receive a t-shirt by mail, please add $4.00 for shipping and handling.  Thank you!



JRBS BLUES CD LIBRARY   Check out up to three CD’s per month from the blues CD library (available at JRBS membership meetings).  Choose from new releases from national, regional, and independent blues labels. 


FREE BLUESLETTER CLASSIFIED AD  One free classified ad (up to 4 lines) per membership per issue. 


CLEARY VIDEO OASIS (Amherst Highway, Madison Heights, VA, 434-845-8124).  A 3-day music video rental for $1.50 each with valid JRBS membership card.


TRU BLEU PRODUCTIONS Discount tickets to area blues shows with valid JRBS membership card.  Contact Harry Turner at 540-992-5651 for schedules and additional information.


THE CLUB JAZZ & BLUES THEATRE  (627 Townside Dr., Roanoke, VA, 540-343-6751).  Discount on event tickets with valid JRBS membership card.


DELTA BLUES MUSEUM Receive 50% off admission to the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi. with valid JRBS membership card.




Jessie Barksdale, Marilyn Cahoon, Dave Dollberg, David & Rhonda Epperson, Paul Ewing, Marty Gribble, Michael Hollandsworth, Andy Johnson, Peggy Jones, Bob Lauro, Albert Lowry, Roger Nelson, James Offie, Tom Paciocco, Jan Ramsey, Les Roark, Scott Sutton, Rick Walker, Jim & Bev Wisser, Glenn Young


THE BLUES CAFÉ  (Message from the Prez)


Hello Everyone and Happy Spring!   I hope this issue of the Bluesletter will give you plenty of reasons to shake off Old Man Winter and warm up to the blues!    And more than likely, you'll soon find something to do that's right up your blues alley - whether it's attending our 9th anniversary celebration events or the Carl Martin Historical Marker dedication ceremony, volunteering at Blues Fest 2004, or seeing some nearby blues festivals or shows (Smokin' Joe Kubek, Keb' 'Mo, or maybe you were lucky enough to get tickets to the sold out show at the Jefferson Center featuring Marcia Ball)!


If you haven't heard, our new membership meeting location is now The Bistro (formerly Percival's Isle Restaurant) located at 1208 Main Street, downtown Lynchburg - right across from the City Market.  Michelle and her great staff will treat you to some delicious food and drinks, not to mention fine hospitality!  Check out one of the newest restaurants in Lynchburg and check out what's happening with the blues when we meet there each month.  Everyone is welcome!   A special thank you goes out to the members who helped decide on our new meeting location!


April marks the JRBS' 9th anniversary, and we're excited to have some events lined up to celebrate!  Wailin' Slim & the Sofa Kings will anchor our Open Blues Jam in Roanoke on April 3, and then on April 13, we will hold a special anniversary bash at The Bistro in lieu of our regularly scheduled meeting.   Read all about this and other great events on the pages to follow!


Peace, and may the good blues be yours,

~ Jan



Highlights & information about what's happening in the world of blues…



(Always the second Tuesday of the month)


Blues jam follows brief meeting!  Bring your own instruments and amps!  Free and open to the public.   

NEW LOCATION:  The Bistro, 1208 Main Street, Lynchburg, 7:30 p.m.


Justin Schroder recently resigned from his At-Large position on the Board of Directors due to schedule conflicts and time restraints. 

The WIYOS say…
We had a great time in Memphis and we cannot thank you and the members of the JRBS enough for giving us the opportunity to make the trip. We gave our best in two nights of performance and made some great industry contacts. We feel our music would have been better received as part of the solo/duo category which was mostly acoustic/country blues as opposed to the electric blues-rock bands that we had to compete against. However, rules is rules, and it was an invaluable experience nonetheless. Please pass on our gratitude to all the members of the JRBS.  Thanks,    - Parrish Ellis, The WIYOS  (


The JRBS is celebrating its 9th anniversary in April and you're invited to the festivities!  On April 3, we'll host an Open Blues Jam at The Club Jazz & Blues Theatre in Roanoke (427 Townside Drive, lower level of Fiji Island Restaurant) featuring anchor band, Wailin' Slim & the Sofa Kings!  Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 8!  We are asking blues musicians and singers to sign up to jam by 7 p.m. if at all possible.  All are welcome - amateurs and professionals, acoustic players and electric.  Admission at the door is by donation of $5 per person, and if you flash your current JRBS membership card, you'll get in FREE!  As a bonus at this event, we'll be playing tunes from Eric Clapton's new release, "Me & Mr. Johnson," Clapton's tribute to blues legend, Robert Johnson.  We'll also be giving away some collector sampler issues of the new CD!


The celebration continues on April 13 with an Anniversary Bash at The Bistro!  We'll be giving away door prizes, complimentary snacks, and featuring a special blues jam for the occasion!  The party starts at 7:30 p.m. sharp!


You've been hearing about this event for a while now, and it's finally here!  The dedication ceremony of the Carl Martin Historical Marker will take place on Sunday, May 2 in Big Stone Gap (Wise County), Virginia.   We'll be starting the afternoon off at 2:00 p.m. with Gregg Kimball making a presentation on the "Old Dominion Songsters" series at the Southwest Virginia Museum in BSG.  Immediately following will be the dedication ceremony, and we will be inviting some prominent citizens of the community to the event, including the Mayor of Big Stone Gap, and members of Town Council.  We want to extend a big thank you to Gregg Kimball for all of his help to make this event happen!  For those of you who plan to make the trip to BSG and may need hotel accommodations, there are many major hotel chains in nearby cities and towns to fit your budget.  Abingdon, Norton, and the Kingsport/Bristol areas feature Days Inn, Holiday Inn, Hampton Inn, Best Western, Super 8, Courtyard, La Quinta, etc. 


There are thousands and thousands of resources on the Internet for blues fans these days, but how does someone who doesn't have Internet access get the information?  Well, for starters, you can subscribe to 'Blues Revue' and 'Living Blues' magazines.  You can catch the occasional blues show on TV, especially if you have cable or satellite TV.  Just recently, there was a special on LINK about Lightnin' Hopkins!  TRIO occasionally has some music shows, and PBS has started repeating Martin Scorsese's 'The Blues' series that originally aired in September 2003.  That particular series is now out on DVD or VHS, and the soundtrack can be purchased in a box set or by individual CD's.   Locally, you can visit Cleary Video in Madison Heights and ask owner, Kevin Cleary, to recommend some good blues videos to watch!    If you are traveling, find out if there's a blues society in the area you'll be staying and call them.  Chances are, they can tell you if any blues shows will be in town the same time you are.  


New JRBS merchandise is on the horizon -- This summer, we'll debut JRBS canvas tote bags!  Tote bags always come in handy for many things - groceries, books, beach towels, yard sale buys, and much more!   You'll look extra cool with a tote bag from the JRBS, and most importantly, you'll be letting everyone know you support your local blues society!   Watch for them in the near future!


Blues Fest 2004 is scheduled for Saturday, July 10, 3:00 - 11:00 p.m. at the Sedalia Center, 1108 Sedalia School Road, Big Island (Bedford County), Virginia.  The festival is rapidly becoming on of the area's most anticipated events, and the JRBS is proud to be a part of it!  We'll be hosting our 6th Annual Blues Talent Competition there, and immediately following the Sedalia Center will host the headliner, Sean Costello!   Stay tuned for more details!


Speaking of the 6th Annual Blues Talent Competition, application packages are now available from the JRBS two ways:  (1) by sending a self-addressed, stamped legal envelope (with two stamps) to the JRBS with a request, or (2) by requesting the application by e-mail (  Deadline for applications is 5:00 p.m. EST, June 11, 2004. 







              (CD Reviews by Bob Lauro)




Crucial Blues Series -- Live Blues, Texas Blues, Slide Guitar Blues (3 individual CD’s)

(Alligator Records, #s ALCD 117, 118, 119)


Alligator Records has done it again, swinging it’s tail and taking a big chomp out of the competition in this triad collection of cool blues that has something for everyone.  If you’ve never been to the Alligator website ( you’re in for a real treat.  It’s fun to navigate and you can click on “digital postcards” to get a sight and sound clip of new releases.

Big Al(ligator) goes a step further in offering this Crucial Blues series for the low, low price of $7.98 per CD.  Hey, at those prices, you can buy them as gifts and hand them out at blues’ meetings.  Of course, if you happen to be a member of JRBS, you can borrow from our lending library and sample the whole project before you buy.


Among the artists featured in the Crucial Blues series are Luther Allison (“Cherry Red Wine,” “Give Me Back My Wig”), Marcia Ball (“I’m Coming Down With The Blues”), Johnny Winter (“Tin Pan Alley”), Corey Harris (“Jack O’Diamonds”), and so much more, including a cameo by Bonnie Raitt who accompanies A. C. Reed on “She’s Fine."


If you dig “live,” “Texas” or “slide guitar” blues, you’ll dig this collection.  I’m still waiting for the Big Al to come out with “Crucial Blues, Harmonica.”  Let’s see, what could they call it?  How about “Harp and Soul?”


The Holmes Brothers – “Simple Truths”

(Alligator Records, #ALCD-4893)


This is a definite departure from their last release, “Speaking In Tongues,” which explored and displayed their gospel roots, and earned them an appearance on the “Late Show” with David Letterman. Nonetheless, “Simple Truths” contains the bluesy, gutsy style that we’ve grown to expect and enjoy from these veteran musicians.


Brother Sherman plays bass and adds back up vocals as does drummer Popsy Dixon, but it is younger bro and lead guitar, Wendell Holmes, who gleams on this project.  He has a voice carved out of the soul of this land and it rocks on “Run Myself Out Of Town” and “Big Boss Man.”  His rendition of “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” could arguably be one of the best ever recorded and he even accompanies himself on piano while belting out heartfelt lyrics on “Opportunity To Cry.”


This trio, originally from Christchurch, Virginia, definitely has what it takes to make your blues shine.


Corey Stevens – Bring On The Blues

(Fuel 2000 Records, # 302 061 312 2)


Corey Stevens grew up in southern Illinois, as the youngest and only boy in a three-sibling household.  Raised by what was once described as “Leave it to Beaver” parents by a high school sweetheart, Corey and his sisters preferred rock and roll.  His epiphany occurred when he saw Ike and Tina Turner perform in concert back in the 70’s.  That’s when he knew music would be his life.


Years later, on his third CD, Stevens attempts to bring on the blues but the vocals are mostly unimpressive and the arrangements, so-so.  It takes six songs before this CD finally heats up with, “Triple Jack,” then gets super hot with a funky, “My Blues Are Turning Red, making it almost worth the wait.


The final cut, “Getaway”, is a collaboration with Canned Heat, and is also offered on their latest project (see review below).





Bernard Allison –Kentucky Fried Blues (live)

(Ruf Records, #1092)


Recorded live at the W.C. Handy Festival in Henderson, Kentucky back in 1999, this high energy collection by the effervescent Bernard Allison and his band will make you want to go grab a funnel cake, a coke and a lawn chair and just sit back and groove.  Lucky for Allison fans, Ruf Records also produced a DVD video of this concert…a solid hour of “string-lickin’ good” blues.


Canned Heat – Friends In The Can

(Fuel 2000 Records, # 302 061 306 2)


Produced by Skip Taylor and drummer, Fito de la Parra, this CD packs enough heat to keep you out of the cold and they even throw in a couple of bonus tracks for free.  But what is really cool about this hot project is the lineup of special friends that stoke the fire.  Artists like John Lee Hooker and Taj Mahal are featured on “Never Get Out Of These Blues Alive,” and Roy Rogers (not the cowboy) sets things ablaze with “Bad Trouble.”  Walter Trout adds his own fuel to the fire with “Home To You.”  If you dig the blues, you’ll dig “Friends In The Can.”






“Raucous, piano-based Dixie R&B [full of] classic Southern songcraft and passion."

- The Chicago Tribune

Pianist/vocalist/songwriter Marcia Ball, touring in support of her latest album, the Grammy©-nominated SO MANY RIVERS (produced by Stephen Bruton), will perform live in Roanoke. Ball won the 2002 W.C. Handy Blues Award for “Blues Album of the Year” for her Alligator Records debut, PRESUMED INNOCENT.  Over the course of her three decade career, Ball's infectious, intelligent and deeply emotional songs have won her a loud and loyal fan base all over the world. Concert information is as follows:

Friday, April 16, 7:30 p.m.

Also performing will be Bayou to Bourbon Street                                       THIS SHOW

Shaftman Performance Hall at Jefferson Center                                                IS

541 Luck Avenue, Roanoke, VA                                                              SOLD OUT!

SO MANY RIVERS features Ball's trademark mix of raucous boogie and heart-melting ballads, but also explores a wider variety of rhythms, lyrics and song structures than ever before. Produced by Stephen Bruton (who also plays guitar and mandolin on the album) and recorded at The Hit Shack in Austin, Texas, SO MANY RIVERS finds Ball at a creative high point in her career. Of the album's 14 songs, six are Ball originals and all are fueled by her mastery of two-fisted piano playing, swaggering rock and sweet Southern soul. 

With her new release and a long list of high profile tour dates, Marcia Ball is poised to reach even greater heights. Fortune magazine declared, "Marcia Ball is one of the treasures of Austin. She's one of the great New Orleans-style piano players: she can rock, she can boogie, she can play the blues." Time Out New York put it even more succinctly, simply stating, "this singer-pianist seems at the peak of her powers." Ball's mastery of so many musical styles makes SO MANY RIVERS a soul-stirring journey: one that brings the roadhouses of Texas and the Gulf Coast to listeners all over the world.