Friday, December 23, 2016

Merry Christmas!

First of all, I'd like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy, blessed New Year!  It's been a great year for us.  We kinda came back on the scene after a long hiatus with an album which hit the charts the same week as it's release in late July and stayed in the top 40 of the RMR Contemporary Blues Chart the rest or the year! Amazing! After that, I released a Christmas EP, Christmas Past, and it wound up being played around the world as well.

I have to  say a big "Thank You" to several, including Heath Glisson and Coffee Street Records for his support and hard work on both projects.  William Gross Magee did an outstanding job on the artwork, as he did on the last album, 10 years ago.  The guys in the band were solid as usual, along with guests Alonzo Pennington, Solon Smith and the great Col JD Wilkes!  Finally, for the project, to get us back on the scene with a splash, it was suggested we use a publicist.  When I asked around, the same name kept coming up, so that's who we went with.  Without a doubt, the album would not have done as well as it did without the hard work of Frank Roszak. He did a phenomenal job getting the album out there in the hands and ears of the right people. As in any business, you increase your chances for success if you surround yourself with the BEST. Last but not least, a huge thanks to the DJs, Program Directors and Presenters.  Without them NO ONE would have ever heard either project.

We're not sitting idle in 2017 though. Another album is already written and we'll begin recording soon.  I'm really excited about this album.  I think it will be our best work yet, although it will be VERY DARK.....  You'll hear more about it soon as we dive into the project.  In the meantime, bless you all for a year better than I deserve a hopefully an even better 2017!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Christmas Past

Really excited about the upcoming release of a collection of Christmas songs, Christmas Past.  The EP was recorded in Paducah, Kentucky at Coffee Street Records Studios, just like our last release, Rain.  Quote honestly, if this wasn't a seasonal release, I'd keep it in the can longer since Rain is still on the charts and doing well! 

This was a really stripped down effort, with just me on guitars, my engineer, co-producer Heath Glisson on bass and drums and, Matt Lyerla, a very talented multi-instrumentalist, on piano on 3 songs.

I wanted to record a couple or original Christmas songs I'd written, especially "Christmas Past" which I actually wrote 15 or 20 years ago but had never gotten around to recording.  The other four songs on the EP are favorites of mine which I've played for years at some local assisted living centers at Christmastime.

The EP features some rockers: "Winter Wonderland" and "Run Run Rudolph", with great piano solos by Matt, along with "Blue Christmas" which is kinda mashujp between Elvis' and Leon Redbone's.  "White Christmas" is kind of a unique arrangement.  Hard to describe, other than nowhere NEAR the familiar version.  "Christmas with my Baby" is a nice little blues shuffle with light hearted lyrics.  "Christmas Past" is kinda neat.  When I wrote it, I was surprised I'd never hear of a Christmas song with this title and covering this subject in this way.  Heath did a nice turn on the bass, too.

For you gearheads, I only used 2 guitars: a Brian Setzer 6120SSU Tiger Stripe Gretsch, and one of my favorite strats, Forrest, a '79 25th Anniversary Fender Strat, I only used 2 effects: Boss Tremolo, and Fulltone OCD.  Probably the thing which stands out most on this CD is my voice.  I'm happy to report I've now been smoke free for more than 6 months, and I'm not only hitting notes I haven't hit in 20 years, I'm hitting notes I've NEVER hit! 

Christmas Past will be released shortly after Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Charts! Christmas!

 Hard to believe we're approaching 4 months of the Roots Music Report's Contemporary Blues Chart and still hanging in there with our latest release, Rain.  I never would have imagined, after 10 years, we'd get the reception we have from listeners, DJs, PDs and Presenters.  Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart.

I guess the thing which is most remarkable to me, is that DJs have played ALL 10 songs on the CD, and the CD has been played all over the world!

Meanwhile, the holidays will be here before you know it, and I'm thrilled to say, we're merely days away from releasing my first collection of Christmas songs.  Christmas Past is an EP of 6 Christmas songs, 2 originals and 4 favorites, with 2 of them done with very unusual arrangements.

I always loved Christmas songs, but never recorded any until now.  The EP includes Christmas Past, a song I wrote more than 10 years ago, but never recorded until now, along with another original, Christmas With My Baby.  The old favorites are songs which I've included each year while playing Christmas shows with the band, 61 South, and also during solo/duo acoustic shows during the Christmas season.  Man y of these shows have actually been at assisted living facilities, so it's been heart warming for me as well as the residents, and it gets to more dear to my heart each year.  More about EP soon!  It's scheduled for release around Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 10, 2016

A Break from The Stage

Didn't really plan it, but after a great weekend playing 2 really fun festivals, I'll be taking a break for a few weeks.  Friday night, we played the inaugural Beltline Blues Festival in Paducah, KY at The Riff, along with Bosco France, Stacy Mitchart, Scott Holt and Eddie Turner.  A great lineup!  I was especially thrilled Eddie Turner made his first visit to the area!  Been a big fan of his for years, and it's so cool with both of us having albums on the charts right now!

Saturday night it was the Beer, Blues and Brats Festival at Discovery Park of America in Union City, TN where we shared billing with longtime friends Little Boys Blue, who have been on the charts all summer long with their latest album.  It was great to catch up and also really enjoyed hearing them play live for the first time since we both played this event last year! Last year when we played this it was FREEZING, and while it was a little chilly this year, it was warmer.  The result was the crowd was HUGE! It was a special night.  Also, this past weekend, I was finally able to play the '79 Anniversary Strat for the entire shows.  This is the guitar which belonged to my late friend, Forrest Hurd of the Hurd Brothers Band.  It took some work, but we finally got it just like I wanted and it's incredible!

The new CD, Rain, continues to stay in the Top 25 Nationwide on the Roots Music Report's Contemporary Blues Chart!  The reviews have been really great too!  Just this week, an acquaintance sent me a clipping from DownBeat Magazine, which gave us a GREAT review!  What a THRILL!  We'll continue riding this out for as long as it last.  In the meantime, I'm getting ready for Christmas! That means recording a Christmas EP and getting ready for Christmas shows in December!  I'm sorry! ALL of them are private shows, BUT if that changes, I'll let you know!

Bless you, in the Blues....

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Charts, Shows, Christmas and 2017!

It's hard to believe but the new CD, Rain, is  closing in on 2 months on the Blues Radio Charts! What is still most amazing to me is that ALL 10 of the songs on the CD have been played by stations, and EIGHT of the songs have charted on the Singles Charts!  Needless to say, we're thrilled with it's success.

We'll be playing songs from the new album at 2 really cool festivals this weekend:  Friday night, we'll play at the inaugural Beltline Blues Festival at The Riff Concert Hall in Paducah, KY, along with one of my favorite guitar players, Bosco France.  

Saturday night, we're at Discovery Park of America in Union City, Tennessee for the Beer, Blues and Brats Festival.  We played this event last year and it was a blast, with lots of craft breweries from around the state and region, and great food!!! We'll also be performing alongside our longtime friends, Little Boys Blue! It's been a great year for both of us!  LBB has been on the charts for 5 months now with their new release!

After this, we'll have a break from shows until December, then it's time for Christmas shows and parties.  That will be fun and especially this year because, I hope to have a Christmas EP out in time for the holidays!  Recording has begun and is moving along nicely!  Still undecided whether it will be a strictly digital release or not, but it will have at least 2 original Christmas songs, along with 4 or 5 classic Christmas songs.  Stay tuned!   Of course, beginning later this month, we'll
step it up, booking for next year!  If you would like to book us for your festival or other event, contact us here!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Chart Update, Schedule Alert, Etc Etc

Our CD Rain hit it's 3rd week on the chart, all three inside the top 20 of the Roots Music Reports Contemporary Blues Chart which blows my mind!  Thanks so much to the DJs, Programmers and Presenters who are choosing our CD to play.  I'm also still blown away by just how MANY songs off the CD they are choosing....  ALL 10 songs have been played by stations.  I hope that means that's a testament to how strong and consistent all 10 songs on the CD are.

Schedule: It's been a weird year.  I've NEVER had as many shows cancel as I have this year.  We're up to 5 or 6!  This time, it's the Cairo Blues and Heritage Festival.  I thought we had agreed to perform Friday night, like last year, with us opening for Chris Canas (last year, we were flip flopped), but instead the other day, I found out we were scheduled for Saturday afternoon instead, which conflicted with a show we had agreed to in Trenton, TN.  I could not back out of the Tennessee show, because my parents were looking forward to coming and they don't get many opportunities to see me play.  I think this is the first one in several years. At any rate, I apologize to the promoters in Cairo for making the mistake, and apologize to the fans too. Maybe it's time for a booking agent.

Gear:  Sunday night in Rockport, IN, I used my Eric Clapton Signature Strat for the first time live.  I played it for the solo on "Who's Texting You" on the CD but never played it live until Sunday night.  I really liked it, and may start using it more  It's different than my other strats because of the 25db boost control but I kinda like the extra control.

Bless you!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Up the Charts....

So grateful for the reception the new CD Rain is receiving!  Only 2 weeks into it's release, it already hit the Roots Music Report Charts for Blues, Contemporary Blues and 2 songs reached the contemporary blues charts for singles.  A big THANK YOU to all the DJs and presenters in the USA and abroad who are playing the CD and the reviewers who are giving it glowing reviews. 

Incredibly, DJs are playing ALL TEN of the songs on the CD!  Sales are going well and in fact has sold out of the CD twice.  They are being restocked right now.

Of course you can find everywhere you can get the CD, whether a direct download or hard copy at

Monday, August 15, 2016

Rain Getting LOTS of Airplay, Worldwide!!!

Thanks so much to the DJs and stations which keep adding us. More and more every week! So far, stations have played 9 of the 10 songs on the CD. Not sure what that means. Very grateful and very humbled... Here's s partial list.  If lyou don't see your local radio station on this list, be sure to call them up and request they add us to their blues playlist!

Atlanta, GA: WRFG
Benton, ME: WMHB
Bloomington, IN: WFHB
Blue Hill, ME: WERU
Buffalo, NY: WBFO
Carbondale, IL: WDBX
Charlottesville, VA: WNRN
Columbia, MO: KOPN
El Paso, TX: KTEP
Evansville, IN: WUEV
France: Blues Jeans
France: Radio Blues Intense
Galesburg, IL: WVKC
Gallup, NM: KGLP
Germany: Blue Road Radio
Netherlands: Radio Duivenstraat
Honolulu, HI: KTUH
Huntsville, AL: WLRH,WJAB
Kansas City, MO: KCOR
Louisville, KY: WCHQ
Mendocino, CA: KTDE
Murray, KY: WKMS
Paducah, KY: WKYQ
San Diego, CA: KCR
South Bend, IN: WSND
Spokane, WA: KYRS
Tampa, FL: WMNF
UK: Digital Blues
Web: Downtown Deb 21st Century Blues
Web: Hanks Americana Music

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

New CD Kickin Butt So Far!

Welcome to my music blog. Obviously I'm starting this one from almost scratch. I actually had a blog on my old website, but decided to start anew, as I had to dump the old website for various reasons. I do promise to update this blog more often!

So far I am just overwhelmed by the response we've had to our New CD, Rain. It has already been picked up by dozens of radio stations in the US and around the world. Another aspect is that the radio stations, for the most part,  are playing a number of different songs, instead of just one. Hopefully that means that almost all of the songs on the CD are really good and appealing to a large number of listeners!

 The greatest part is the CD has only been out for three days! Right now I'm scheduled to be interviewed next week by, which is a really cool site dedicated to the top indie artists across the nation and around the world! I will post details soon.

 Early reviews have been awesome! Here are a few:

Michael's Music Blog, Los Angeles

Nashville Blues Society

Midwest Record

Roots n Blues Corner

 If you would like to get your own copy of Rain, you can do it at several places. It's available on, iTunes, Amazon, and through my own website at

Be sure to join my email list here for free downloads specials and more!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Guitar Story: My '79 Anniversary Strat

It all began with a text message from a friend of mine late last year.  He was at a local music store and texted me that he thought an old beat up 1979 26th Anniversary Fender Stratocaster, which just came in the door, once belonged to a friend of mine.

I was very interested because the friend of mine was  fantastic guitar player who once played in a band with his brother in Southern Illinois.  I made a few phone calls and looked through some old pictures and became convinced it probably WAS my friend's old guitar.  The person who traded in the guitar said it came from an estate, and the original owner once played in a band called the Hurt Brothers.  He said he had gotten the guitar in a trade, for a pickup truck.

I learned enough so that I was pretty sure he was talking about Forrest Hurd, who along with his brother, Doug, were the foundation of The Hurd Brothers Band.  They were seasoned road warriors, playing anywhere and everywhere, from roadside joints to opening shows for Robin Trower and other top notch acts.  I had even jammed with them onstage. They truly were two of the nicest guys I ever knew in addition to be great musicians.

They burned up the road until an early morning in 2004, while returning homw from a gig, their truck was struck by a drunk driver.  The truck turned over and burst into flames and unfortunately, both Hurd brothers were killed.

I went to the music store and looked the guitar over.  Of course they were asking more than what it was worth, especially because of it's condition and the fact it had been altered with a Floyd Rose bridge.  Since I felt strongly it was my friend's guitar though, I bought it.  It was more than simply reliced.  What finish was left on the guitar was turned deep brown, no doubt by the flames on the night they lost their lives.

I took it to Timothy Korts at Stringworks in Paducah, KY, who does a lot of my guitar work.  It needed more than a setup.  It needed refretting among other things.  What a surprise when Korts pulled the neck, and there in the pocket was my old friend Forrest Hurd's signature!

It really was Forrest's guitar.  It took a lot of work on Kort's part, but in the end, I had a great sounding guitar with a sentimental value no measured in dollars.  I love playing Forrest's old strat, even though I'll never play it as well as he did.