Steel Horse Saloon Wants to Be North Valley's Blues Bar

Categories: Blues

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Jenny Flores Photography
Buzz Fowler

The Steel Horse Saloon hopes that Buzz Fowler and First String can make their club into a destination blues venue just as they have for the El Dorado Bar & Grill in Scottsdale. The idea is to establish the Steel Horse Saloon as the North Valley's blues venue.

Every Wednesday for the past three-and-a-half years, the El Dorado has come alive with a blues jam that brings in 20-30 musicians and customers. The event has grown so big that there have been as many as 58 musicians..

The Steel Horse Saloon, known as Arizona's original biker bar, will have their kick-start Jam Party at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 17, pick it up again July 31, and run every Thursday through August. If it's successful, then the blues jam will be adopted on a regular basis.

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Who Needs a Singer? When You Play Harmonica Like Bob Corritore, You Don't

Categories: Blues

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Dave Blake
Bob Corritore

Bob Corritore's new CD Taboo, which was released earlier this year, is unique. Why? The master harp-player's album is all-harmonica. Not a single voice appears anywhere on the album. In place of vocals are the sounds of Corritore's harmonicas.


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Janiva Magness, Eden Brent Headline Flagstaff Blues and Brews Festival

Categories: Blues

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Julia Bailey
Eden Brent is performing at the Flagstaff Blues and Brews festival.

Those looking to get out of the Phoenix heat can find no better reason than the Flagstaff Blues and Brews festival on Saturday, June 21.

The event goes from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Continental Driving Range.

Eden "Little Boogalo" Brent is a good place to start. Her Mississippi piano can bring an audience to life with a mix of blues, soul, jazz and pop. Her three-piece band includes Bobby Walker on drums and David Barard on bass.


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Lonesome Shack's Blues Rooted in the Desert

Categories: Blues

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Andrew J.S.
Lonesome Shack is scheduled to perform Wednesday, June 11, at Lost Leaf.

You could easily be forgiven for mistaking More Primitive, the new LP by Seattle-based blues trio Lonesome Shack, for a mid-'70s recording from the North Mississippi hill country, the fertile blues scene that gave listeners artists like R.L. Burnside, Fred McDowell, Jesse Mae Hemphill, and more. But no, singer/guitarist Ben Todd's lineage isn't southern in origin. Growing up in Bellingham, Washington, he departed for the Gila Wilderness in New Mexico, where he built a shack next to his travel trailer. For four years he dedicated his time to the blues, a passion that continued when he moved to Phoenix.

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How Beatles Fangirls Inspired Lewis Ray Cammarata to Strum His First Chord

Categories: Blues

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Courtesy of Lewis Ray Cammarata
Lewis Ray Cammarata, far left, can be found playing music all over the Valley.

The beautiful excited girls dancing on the TV screen were the ones who caused Lewis Ray Cammarata to go into music. That was when he was watching the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. Cammarata remembers it likes it happened yesterday because his dad was wincing with disgust, but his mom thought the Beatles were cute.

His older half-brother, Marty Goldscher, bought him a guitar after watching the eventful Beatles performance.

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Dax Riggs Brings His Demons to Scottsdale

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Danin Drahos
Dax Riggs

Demon tied to a chair in my brain/ black bird a-tapping on the window pane/ sittin' and smilin' at a stray dog in the rain/ demon tied to a chair in my brain.

With these haunting, bluesy lyrics, Dax Riggs opens with on the first track of his 2007 album We Sing of Only Blood or Love, introducing his then-new solo project to fans and gaining the respect of those who had him pegged as just a heavy metal guru. The song, aptly titled "Demon Tied to a Chair In My Brain," certainly picks up pace from there and serves as a perfect prelude into the blues-based album that ranges from slow to fast; filled with dark imagery, soothing tones and even the blood-pumping growls that Riggs has been associated with since his sludgy heavy metal outfit of the early '90s, Acid Bath.



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Tommy Castro Attacks Greed the Only Way He Knows How: With the Blues

Categories: Blues

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Lewis MacDonald
Tommy Castro brings his blues band to the Rhythm Room on Friday, May 23.

It's okay to make money in today's world. Even necessary to survive and raise a family. But when somebody becomes greedy in the process where they cheat, pollute and hurt others, well that's not cool. That's the message in the song "Greedy," which is on Tommy Castro's new CD The Devil You Know.

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James Cotton to Bring Decades of Blues Experience to Phoenix

Categories: Blues

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Christopher Durst
James Cotton

On James Cotton's new CD, Cotton Mouth Man, there's a song, "He was There," that makes the point that the blues harmonica icon has performed just about everywhere. Well, on May 17 the Cotton Mouth Man will perform somewhere he hasn't performed before: The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix.

Cotton, who has been touring nonstop for decades, has performed on five continents and has lost count of how many countries in which he's performed. He has performed in Phoenix before but it was so far back he couldn't remember when.

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Doug Deming Does Blues with Jewels

Categories: Blues

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CREDIT TK
Doug Deming rocks the Rhythm Room.

Doug Deming and Dennis Gruenling with the Jewel Tunes recently rocked the Rhythm Room with their high-powered blues and '50s rock 'n' roll. Deming plays a mean guitar, but he also knows how to entertain the crowd in a style that mixes the modern and the vintage. Gruenling gets to share top billing with Deming because he's among the best harmonica players in the country.

Kim Wilson, from the Fabulous Thunderbirds, made a point to be in the crowd since he's a friend with the band. Toward the end of the performance, Wilson and Rhythm Room owner Bob Corritore joined the band for a few songs that had the place hopping.


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Rhythm Room Mainstay MonaLisa Watkins Bids Farewell

Categories: Blues

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Benjamin Leatherman
Mona Lisa Watkins' reign at the Rhythm Room has come to an end.

MonaLisa Watkins sang "Xanadu" with Tab Benoit, watched Dick Dale stand behind the bar telling stories to Rhythm Room employees, and watched Francine Reed sing "A Song for You" a cappella to the bar's staff. Those are some of the memories that she has after 17 years of working at the venerable Central Phoenix blues joint.

It's not often that a general manager of a club gets a going-away party in which several bands will play for free in her honor, but that's how much Watkins is loved by the Phoenix blues community.

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