Arcata, CA — RBA Publishing has announced the launch of the 18th annual Blues Festival Guide magazine in both print and digital formats.
Blues music is America’s original roots music. It is still being picked on the front porches of tar-paper shacks, but just as frequently, it is fired up loud and proud in front of a barroom (or festival) crowd.
Blues reflects hardship, trouble and strife, but also perseverance and strength of character – to know the blues is to be in touch with your true spirit and soul. The Blues Festival Guide is committed to the process of presenting blues to a wider audience, and therefore offers a weekly, electronic newsletter: Blues Festival E-Guide (free subscription) and the popular annual national print (and digital) magazine which comes out each spring.
“With so many festivals postponing or canceling, it was uncertain if we would publish it this year, but the readers kept asking,” says publisher, Kaati Gaffney. “We received countless personal calls and emails from advertisers and readers alike and have been bombarded with magazine ad and subscription orders. It seems the more we all sat at home during this pandemic, the more we thought about music and its ability to generate well-being and connection. Even though festival offerings are slimmer this year, there are still quite a few events planned for the summer and fall.”
Blues legend Bobby Rush calls the magazine: The roadmap to everything blues. Indeed, the articles offer something for everyone, all blues related, of course. This year’s engaging editorial from aficionados in the blues community includes articles from Grammy winner, Victor Wainwright, Mitch Woods, Reverend Billy C. Wirtz and Roger Stolle among others.
Here’s a sneak peek:
Living Legend: Charlie Musselwhite By Eric Steiner Living legend Charlie Musselwhite is known as an electric blues harp player, essential to the genre to the blues. Having cut his musical teeth alongside Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and everyone on the South Side of Chicago in the early 1960s, more than 20 albums later, Musselwhite is at the top of his game. This feature pays homage to this legendary bluesman.
Blues Movies Reel Away the Blues By Roger Stolle Roger Stolle, of Clarksdale’s Cat Head blues store and the Clarksdale Film & Music Festival, is our favorite blues film expert. Ease your stay-at-home-blues brought on by the Covid-19 quarantine by diving into Stolle’s list of must-see blues films and documentaries. Will somebody, please, get the lights?
The Healing Blues By Anita Schlank, Ph.D. The frightening realities caused by Covid-19 have us all on edge. Fortunately the blues can help. Listening to and playing music can enhance well-being and reduce pain and suffering. Licensed Clinical Psychologist Anita Schlank, Ph.D. and bluesman Tab Benoit teamed up to co-author Blues Therapy to raise awareness and share the healing aspects of the blues.
What’s Cookin’ with Victor Wainwright Check out what award-winning piano man Victor Wainwright is cookin’. “What takes us from Savannah to Memphis on the music and food train? What’s relatively cheap, can feed an army and bring together a house full of musicians to the dinner table amid the loud music playing, chatter, laughter and normal everyday noise? Memphis Loud BBQ Stew with Mamma’s Cornbread!” Don’t miss out on Wainwright’s own recipes for smoked pork butt, BBQ stew and cornbread. You know what’s good about smoked pulled pork? Everything.
The Jus’ Blues Music Foundation Best known for the Jus’ Blues Music Awards and Conference held each summer in Tunica, MS, the Jus’ Blues Music Foundation also presents workshops on how to use technology to reach new audiences, brings blues into schools, offers songwriting workshops and sponsors tours of blues heritage locations. If it’s something to do with advocating the blues, you can bet Jus’ Blues is working to support it.
Jammin’ On the High C’s On Board the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise By Mitch Woods Accompany jump-swing piano torchbearer Mitch Woods on board the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise as he invites us into the piano bar scene, which is known to jam on ‘til dawn. You never know what will happen or who will show up. And while “What happens on the Blues Cruise, stays on the Blues Cruise,” Woods shares a few hilarious stories that will get you fired up to jump on board the next ship.
A King & A Duke By Reverend Billy C. Wirtz The record labels that recorded blues, hillbilly and gospel during the latter half of the 20th century were independent operations, some of which were run by tough, old school hustlers who weren’t afraid to pad a few pockets and/or play rough if needed. Rev. Billy C. Wirtz is back to introduce us to two of the most influential and colorful of that era – Syd Nathan of King Records and Don Robey of Duke Records.
Festivals Receive KBA Keeping the blues alive is essential, especially in these times when we need it most. This year, the Blues Foundation granted the Keeping the Blues Alive Award to two festivals: the Cali Blues & Folk Festival of Cali, Colombia, and the Jimiway Blues Festival in Ostrów Wielkopolski, Poland. Find out how these festivals are perpetuating the blues for their international audiences.
Blues: An African Sonic Response By Pascal Bokar Thiam, Ed.D. Is there an African blues? Dr. Pascal Bokar Thiam – a.k.a. musician Pascal Bokar, Father of the Afro Blue Grazz sound – schools us on the African roots of the blues, as well as African artists who continue the tradition of incorporating African musical aesthetics to animate the genre. Read more to learn how the blues speaks to our collective humanity beyond race and nationality.