THE Bobby Rush: Legendary soul-blues singer is on tour and you must go

Bobby Rush at the Mint LA. Photos by Pat Rainer with Omnivore Entertainment (c) 2016

Photos by Pat Rainer with Omnivore Entertainment (c) 2016

Last night at the best spot in Los Angeles for roots music lovers, The Mint LA, I had the pleasure of seeing THE Bobby Rush for the second time. The first time I saw the legendary blues-soul singer from Homer, Louisiana at SXSW in Austin two years ago, I was impressed that well into his 80s he was doing a solo set of acoustic blues, which took me back to a time and place I have never been, but imagined I might have via my distant ancestors.

Last night, I saw Mr. Rush jumping and dancing on stage with a full electric band (including the sax player touring with The Rolling Stones, THE Stones). He was so full of energy and zest, that at half his age, I was a little embarrassed that I almost didn’t come out because I was tired! He brought the entire sold-out crowd to their feet, and unexpectedly, I rediscovered that I too could find that passion I had seemed to lost for live music in the past year. Next thing I know I was hootin’ and hollerin’ and dancing around to the pure, unadulterated (and I mean unadulterated) blues.

Straight from the chitlin’ circuit, he brought a bit of southern blues-soul history to some lucky blues fans in LA. The man who knew Willie Dixon, played with Etta James, Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, and Howling Wolf, among others, is unstoppable. He just released an epic box-set, Chicken Heads: A 50-Year History Of Bobby Rush, received two back-to-back Grammy nominations for albums released in 2014, Down in Louisiana
and 2015, Decisions, and is set to record ANOTHER brand new album, with equally legendary roots-producer, Scott Billington.

Bobby Rush is touring the U.S. (Tucson on Jan 28th, Austin on Jan 30th, then onto Nashville, Mississippi, Illinois, St. Louis, Texas, and Ohio all in February and March). Please go see him if you are in those areas. Considering he is one of the last of his generation, a stellar musician, with a stellar band, you will get more than your return in time and money to see a living American treasure in person.

Bobby Rush at the Mint LA. Photos by Pat Rainer with Omnivore Entertainment (c) 2016

Photos by Pat Rainer with Omnivore Entertainment (c) 2016

Cesária Évora’s sodade: longing, missing, dreaming

In memory of my father on the ninth anniversary of his death, I thought I’d share one of his favorite artists and one of the most beautiful voices ever recorded. Cesária Évora (1941-2011) was one of the most acclaimed singers in the world. She was known as the “queen of Morna,” Morna being widely considered the national music of Cape Verde. According to Wikipedia:

“In the 1960s, she started singing on Portuguese cruise ships stopping at Mindelo as well as on the local radio. It was only in 1985 when at the invitation of Cape Verdean singer Bana she went to perform in Portugal. In Lisbon she was discovered by the producer José da Silva and invited to record in Paris…Évora’s international success came only in 1988 with the release of her first album La Diva Aux Pied Nus, recorded in France. Her 1992 album Miss Perfumado sold over 300,000 copies worldwide, and included one of her most celebrated songs, “Sodade”.

I listened to “Sodade” on repeat so many times, my CD skipped and I had to buy another. Please enjoy the gorgeous, luscious melodies below and maybe drink some red wine to feel the full effect of the melancholy evoked.

In memory of Dave Lamb of Brown Bird

In December of 2013, I wrote about the folk-blues duo Brown Bird’s Dave Lamb’s fight with cancer. I bought all their albums and listened to the song, By The Reins, incessantly (and still do). As I reflected on another young cancer fighter who died last week, my thoughts went back to this group and Dave Lamb. I hadn’t heard anything so I went to the band’s website and found out sadly that just four months after my post, he too died from his cancer. I was so sad to hear that as I thought the treatment may have been working. It’s been almost a year since he died, and I want to pay tribute to his legacy by dedicating this post to him and the beautiful music he and his partner MorganEve Swain made together.