DarielB – Flying Under the Radar

More Live Music in 2012!

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on January 10, 2012

I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions. I never do. But I just heard one that I can support wholeheartedly.

More live music in 2012!

So for this piece, I’ll be focusing on my own local stomping grounds, from the port city of Wilmington in North Carolina and North Myrtle Beach on down to Pawleys Island in South Carolina. There’s a lot coming up, so check the websites for even more shows.

Mike Taylor and the Holiday Band will kick off Mid-Winter S.O.S. at Duck's on Wed., Jan 11.

I can’t talk about local live music without mentioning Mid-Winter S.O.S. in the Ocean Drive section of North Myrtle Beach. It’s just begun and runs through Sunday, Jan. 15. The S.O.S. lounges (Fat Harold’s, Duck’s, Spanish Galleon, O.D. Beach Club, O.D. Café and O.D. Arcade) feature deejays for the dancers, but a few will have live music, too. They all require S.O.S. cards for entry. Cost is $35, but you get a lot of band for your buck.

Fat Harold’s  will be packed with shaggers day and night. Don’t miss lunch with Lulu. She’s one of the best cooks around and you can tell anyone I said so! Thursday, Jan. 12, it’s Craig Woolard Band. This’ll be crowded, but worth an elbow to the ribs. There’s a reason he’s taken home CBMA Male Vocalist of the Year award nine times. On Friday, Jan. 13, it’s Coastline time with Jim Quick at 1 p.m. Nashville songwriter and producer Gary Nicholson says, “Jim Quick sings read deal country-soul from the heart. He’s combined all the ingredients of his influences to cook up a tasty stew that keeps you coming back for more.” Sea-Cruz takes the stage at 1 p.m. on Jan. 14. Sax, keyboards and top-notch vocals make this trio a powerhouse. Closing out Mid-Winter, the always popular bluesy Castaways will be at the Fat Man’s on Sunday, Jan. 15 starting at 4 p.m.

Also part of Mid-Winter, but minus the required S.O.S. card are 2001 Nightclub  in Myrtle Beach and on the Waterway in North Myrtle, Boom Boom’s Raw Bar.

2001 Nightclub is really three venues in one: Club Touch, Starlight Room and Next Level, which is where the live bands play. Show time is 9:30 p.m. You can see Jim Quick & Coastline, Jan. 12; Craig Woolard Band, Jan. 13 and on Jan. 14, the Magnificents, known for their powerful vocals. Cover charge is $10, $5 with S.O.S. card.

If you haven’t been to Boom Boom’s yet, check it out. The large deck overlooks the Waterway and brand new chef, Ronnie Stevens, is getting rave reviews. Tommy Black Band (beach and blues) is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Jan. 14. On Jan. 21,  Fat Jack Band brings their brand of soul funk to the beach. Rick Strickland Band, playing all-original tunes, is set for Jan. 28. With Rick’s impressive four-octave range and female vocalist Lesa Hudson, this group has built a huge following throughout the Carolinas.
Hip Pocket Band is also coming to town. Equal parts fun and talent, they’ll be at Duck’s on Jan. 21. Love these guys!

Over at the Boathouse , we switch gears a little bit. Through Feb. 23, they’re hosting Coyote Country Fridays with cohost Coyote 106.5 FM. They’ll be featuring local and regional country artists. Sure to be a blast.

Kono Lounge in Myrtle Beach  is another hip, loungy kind of night club. Nathan Stallings with Bono Productions has been bringing some terrific acts in. This coming Friday, Jan. 13, get set for Michael “Pops” Stallings, one of the area’s top blues guitarists. On Feb. 3, The Sharks featuring blues mama Jaynie Trudell will be front and center. Feb. 17  will be the long-awaited reunion show for the Kerry Michaels Band, the must-see blues band on the Grand Strand during the 1990s. The show will feature original members Kerry Michaels (vocals), Michael “Pops” Stallings (lead guitar); Bryant Bowles (drums);  Mike Stevens (bass) and James “Uncle Grub” Thornberg (keyboards).

Juke Joint Johnny, shown here in September at the 2011 Summer's Last Blast Blues Festival in Piedmont, S.C. (Photo Mary Anne McLaurin)

Mama Rue’s in Pawleys Island , hands-down my favorite place for blues on the Strand, has a full line up for us. Friday, Jan. 13, she’s bringing in Juke Joint Johnny and Bad Drew Baldwin. If you’ve never seen Johnny on harp, you’ve never experienced blues harmonica. On Jan. 20, Pastor, Pastor is bringing their unusual blues act back to Mama Rue’s. Guitarist Jeff Liberty, whose style has been described as “fuel-injected blues that lights a fire under your seat,” performs Jan. 28. On Feb. 3, My Buddy Todd aka Todd Roth will perform his last show at Mama Rue’s before moving his life and career to Austin, Texas. Definitely one to see. Feb. 17 will be a big night, too. N.C. bluesman Matt Walsh is the featured act, another one not to miss. No cover charge and the best Jamaican food this side of Nassau! Tell Chef Eric I said hey! Then get you some jerk pork (and a Howlin’ Wolf  from Marrue at the bar). You’ll be hooked on the food, the friends and the music!

Another of my favorite blues joints is the Rusty Nail , home to the Cape Fear Blues Society weekly jams. On Jan. 14, the Nail will host a Pave the Road to Memphis fundraiser for Randy McQuay and Lawyers Guns & Money, winners of the Cape Fear Blues Challenge who will represent the blues society at the IBC in Memphis later this month. Both acts will perform. YEAH!

I can’t write about live music along the Grand Strand without talking about the nonprofit South By Southeast Music Feasts at the historic Myrtle Beach Train Depot. They bring in nationally known acts that often don’t come to this area otherwise. Tickets are $20 for annual series supporters and $25 for nonmembers. The Barefoot Movement, a group of musicians blending  Southern-style bluegrass improv with modern acoustic jazz and rock influences, is scheduled for Feb. 18. Randall Bramblett Band is set for March 10. They meld rock, blues, jazz and soul with razor-sharp songwriting to produce a sound unlike anyone else. It doesn’t get any better than this.

Chuck Leavell (Rolling Stones, Allman Brothers) says, “Randall is in my opinion the most gifted & talented southern singer-songwriter musicians of the past several decades.”

Every one of these shows is worth your time and money. Hope to see you live music junkies out and about!


Bono Productions to Hold Music Showcase at Kono Lounge Nov. 27

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on November 14, 2011

Nathan Stallings, owner of Bono Productions, has announced the new firm will hold its first music showcase on Sunday, Nov. 27 at Kono Lounge in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Doors will open at 5 p.m. Music is set to begin at 6 p.m. and a complimentary filet hibachi will be served from 6 to 8 p.m.

Lesa Hudson and Rick Strickand will perform their original material at the Showcase.

In a telephone interview last week, Stallings said, “My main goal is to give musicians an opportunity to put their stuff out there. This Thanksgiving weekend showcase demonstrates the diversity of talent in this area. The opening set will be by Rick Strickland and Lesa Hudson. Both talented songwriters and vocalists, they perform all original music.”

A sessions player for more than 20 years, Strickland has recorded with and opened for some of the country’s top acts, including Carl Perkins, Todd Rundgren and B.B. King. He has also produced over 50 albums in a wide range of musical styles. His work has made it to the silver screen (Modern Love/1990) He has composed two productions for the Columbia City Ballet. He has performed at the Georgia Music Awards, backing Tommy Roe, Joe South and Ray Stevens. He was Billy Joe Royale’s musical director for three national tours. Rick is well-known for his four-octave vocal range as well as his considerable skills on the guitar.

Hudson is a lead vocalist and keyboard player in the Rick Strickland Band. She grew up in Darlington, S.C. as part of a musical family, with church as its centerpiece. She went on to front her own Lesa Hudson Band, a contemporary Christian group. Hudson produces and performs several Christian-based showcases, and has also performed with the classic rock band, 3 Day Funk with Keith Hamrick (formerly with Billy Joe Royal and the Atlanta Rhythm Section)

The second act will be award-winning songwriter and entertainer Jaynie Trudell. Based in Myrtle Beach, this traveling troubadour is a national recording artist and plays multiple instruments, including piano, guitar, harmonica and dulcimer. Known for her original material, she was honored with the 2010 Blues Entertainer of the Year by the Grand Strand Blues Society.

Electrifying guitarist “Kid” Drew Voivedich has the third time slot. If you frequent the Sunday night blues jams at Jay’s in Little River, S.C., you already know how he and Pops tear it up. Kid Drew’s rockin’ blues is edged with funk, country, jazz, pop and even reggae. Never a dull moment with the Kid.

Closing act will be Pops, himself, possibly the most respected blues guitarist on the Grand Strand – not to mention jazz, pop, R&B and then some.

Michael "Pops" Stallings

He’s played with the Clovers, Percy Sledge, B.J. Thomas and many more. If you’re a local, you may have seen him with singer Kerry Michaels.

Playing guitar is practically in his blood. Michael Stallings got his first guitar at eight years old and his first electric guitar at ten. “I remember my mom playing ‘Ballad of Jesse James’ with a butter knife. She never did like the slide,” he laughs.

Nathan Stallings is Michael’s son, and proud papa can’t wait for the event at Kono. “We’re going to put on a great show,” says Michael.  “I hope everyone stays around to jam with me.

On Facebook, look for Kono Lounge (Myrtle Beach) or Michael Stallings (Little River)

General admission tickets cost $15 each, and include the free food. VIP tickets, at $20 each, also include a free drink and access to the club’s upstairs VIP section, which features special seating and a private bar.

Kono Lounge is located at 1901 N. Kings Hwy. in Myrtle Beach, S.C. For more information, contact Nathan Stallings at 843-224-7748 or via email at BonoProductions@yahoo.com.

Summer’s Last Blast Was a Blast!

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on September 21, 2011

Last Saturday, Sept. 17, I went to Greenville, S.C. (Piedmont, I suppose is more accurate) for the inaugural Summer’s Last Blast & Blues Festival sponsored by Sparkle City Blues, Treeline Entertainment and DeLisle & Associates.

The lineup was superb. Beverly “Guitar” Watkins, Cee Cee James Band featuring guitarist Rickey Godfrey, J Edwards Band, Freddy Vanderford with guitarist Brandon Turner and the Shades, the Matt Walsh Band and the King Bees.

Dave Harrison, who puts out the monthly BluzNdaBlood podcast, drove from Roanoke, Va. for it. He likes catching the Festivals while they’re still small. The week before the Festival he put out a preview show that you might want to hear. Dave does a great job.

All the acts were super, and especially fun for me because I’d never seen Cee Cee James, Freddie Vanderford, the King Bees, Matt Walsh or the headliner, Beverly “Guitar” Watkins before.

I’m going to post some photos taken by my blues sista, Mary Anne McLaurin, along with links to some videos.

She D’Ambrosio and Tim DeLisle put the fledgling festival together, and I think they did a great job. Can’t wait until next year.

Beverly "Guitar" Watkins. So cool to watch her work that guitar ... and super vocals! (Photo Mary Anne McLaurin)

Seriously underrated guitarist Brandon Turner with Piedmont bluesman Freddie Vanderford. (Photo Mary Anne McLaurin)

Juke Joint Johnny (harp) played with the King Bees and also Miss Beverly. (Photo Mary Anne McLaurin)

The King Bees stinging and singing. (Photo Mary Anne McLaurin)

Matt Walsh is from N.C. but plays southside Chicago music. (Photo Mary Anne McLaurin)

Nashville's Rickey Godfrey is currently featured in the Cee Cee James Band, who BTW will be playing the King Biscuit Festival this year. (Photo Mary Anne McLaurin)

J Edwards has a voice that you have to hear to believe. (Photo Mary Anne McLaurin)

Tom "T-Bird" Toglio, drummer with J Edwards Band. (Photo Dariel Bendin)

Brits & Blues In Charleston

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on January 26, 2011

Robin Trower (photo Neil Calandra)

Low Country Blues Bash Feb. 3 – 19, 2011

Blues aficionados from the Carolinas, Georgia and all over the southeastern U.S. will soon be making their way toward Charleston, S.C. for the twenty-first annual Lowcountry Blues Bash, which begins Feb. 3 and rocks on through Feb. 19.

Not officially part of the Blues Bash, but warmly welcomed by the local blues community are two British blues-rock legends – Robert Plant, former frontman for Led Zeppelin and Robin Trower, from the legendary Procul Harum. Plant will appear with his Band of Joy at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center on Feb. 4. ($55.30 – $76.50 including fees).Trower, also performing on Feb. 4, will be at the Music Farm. ($23 ADV/$25DOS) Wow! Trower for $23. No brainer! Bummer they’re on the same night. Tickets for both are available at the venues.

As in the past, organizer Gary Erwin of Erwin Music and the Lowcountry Blues Society are bringing a mix of

Keyboard player Gary Erwin aka Shrimp City Slim organizes the Lowcountry Blues Bash every year. (courtesy photo)

local, regional and national talent to the Palmetto City. The blues-driven frets-n-frenzy takes place over 17 days and features high-end performances by 50 different acts at 25 different locations.

Highlights include guitarist Doug Deming & the Jewel Tones with Dennis Gruenling. Deming’s group alone is a much sought after swing band. Add Gruenling to the lineup and according to Erwin, you get “pure postwar blues bliss.”  (www.dougdeming.com/www.dennisgruenling.com)

South Carolina’s favorite son, Drink Small, returns to the Bash, bringing a cure for whatever ails you. The Blues Doctor’s in the house! (www.myspace.com/drinksmallblues)

From Texas comes one of our favorite singing drummers slash harp players, the genre-jumpin’ Randy McAllister.

Hip-swingin’ blues mama DieDra, all the way from Alabama, will get you out of your chairs. Bring yo’ dancin’ shoes! (Click here for CD review.)

North Carolina’s King Bees deliver swingin’ blues at every turn. Can’t go wrong here.

Frankie’s Blues Mission from Atlanta dishes up some hot West Side Chicago-style electric blues. Yeah!

Another Atlantan, Lefty Williams is on the roster, too. If you’ve never heard this one-armed guitarist, get you to

Penny Zamagni of the King Bees brings take-your-breath-away vocals and solid songwriting to each performance. (courtesy photo)

Chucktown. It’s worth the price of gasoline.

Ten Foot Polecats are coming all the way from Boston,  y’all. For my buck, this punk-edged Mississippi-inspired trio is the act to catch. Jim Chilson’s guitar work is some of the finest you’ll see. They’re at Fiery Ron’s Hometeam BBQ on Sullivan’s Island Feb. 5. I dare you to sit still!

There are so many more topnotch players at this year’s Bash – Mac Arnold & Plate full O’ Blues; acoustic icon

Paul Geremia; Big Bill Morganfield, making his daddy proud; from the Grand Strand, the talented My Buddy Todd; the rockin’Johnny Mac & the Booty Ranch; Charleston’s own Skye Paige bringing rockabilly and blues to the stage.

There’s a special dedication to Lil Dave Thompson, who tragically died in an automobile crash while returning home after last year’s Blues Bash. The event will take place at Fiery Ron’s Hometeam BBQ on Sullivan’s Island  on Sunday evening, Feb. 13.

Most ticket prices will be less than $15 and many are free. Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina at Patriot’s Point in Mt. Pleasant is offering preferred rates for festival goers. Call 843 856 0028 and mention the Blues Bash.

To see the entire lineup, venue listing and schedule, visit http://www.bluesbash.com and download your very own

From the S.C. Upstate come harpman Freddie Vanderford (shown) and guitarist Brandon Turner. (courtesy photo)

brochure in PDF format.

Rickey Godfrey Teams Up With Frank Wilkie, Jeff Sipe For Oct. 10 Show

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on September 27, 2010

The Nashville guitarist will be joined at Fall For Greenville Festival by former Marshall Tucker bassist Frank Wilkie and Jeff Sipe from Aquarium Rescue Unit

The Rickey Godfrey Trio will perform at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 10 at Fall For Greenville in Greenville, S.C.  The festival offers three incredible days of wine and beer tastings, restaurant sampling, children’s events and entertainment by an exciting roster of nationally and regionally known entertainment acts.


Rickey Godfrey and his Telecaster.


Greenville native Rickey Godfrey brings an electrifying blend of hot rockin’ blues and hip-shakin’ soul to every performance. Blind since birth, he started studying classical piano and voice at the age of seven, while attending the South Carolina School for the Blind, and, at age 13, began playing guitar as well.

Godfrey is a founding member of Garfeel Ruff, one of the most beloved bands to come out of the Upstate. Since moving to Nashville, Tenn. in 1993, he has worked with a diverse group of artists including Rufus Thomas, Billy Preston, the Box Tops, Johnny Jones and Sam Moore, to name just a few. The Music City Blues Society has nominated this versatile musician as both Guitarist and Keyboard Player of the Year. Godfrey has just completed a new blues CD titled Nasty Man, which he also produced and expects to be available during the festival. “This CD defines who I am as a complete musician more than any record I’ve ever made,” Godfrey said. “I play all the guitar and keyboard parts on it, and I wrote or co-wrote ten out of the 12 songs on it. My vocals on it have an edge that I’ve never had on my other recordings. I think it’s me singing at my best.”


Bass player Franklin Wilkie


Bass guitarist Franklin Wilkie, who played with Godfrey in Garfeel Ruff, is probably best known for his eight years playing bass for the Marshall Tucker Band. He took on the difficult job of replacing Tommy Caldwell after his untimely death in an automobile accident. He recently played on and produced Ear Candy, the critically acclaimed 2009 recording by Chocolate Thunder. He and Godfrey, who played guitar and keyboards on the CD, both performed with the band at the 2009 Montreal Jazz Festival.

Drummer Jeff Sipe may well be the definitive “drummer’s drummer,” always challenging himself as he explores one musical style after another. He brought together bassist Oteil Burbridge and guitarist Jimmy Herring to form the wildly successful Aquarium Rescue Unit, which, until they disbanded in 1994, was considered one of the best jam bands in the country He has played with Col. Bruce Hampton, Steve Bailey, Chris Duarte, and players from the Derek Trucks Band, Phish, Widespread Panic and more.


Jeff Sipe (photo Michael Saba)


These three musicians coming together at Fall For Greenville is a rare opportunity to enjoy a level of musical talent not often experienced. The trio will play from 1 to 2 p.m. at the Brown Street Club Stage, which is located at Piazza Bergamo at the intersection of Main and Coffee Streets in downtown Greenville, S.C.

About Fall For Greenville

Some of the additional acts include blues legend Mac Arnold;  Cravin’ Melon; Angela Easterling and the Beguilers; Wanda Johnson; Chicago Joe Jones; San Francisco’s Gaylyn Arnold and Greenville’s own horn-driven funk band, The Work.

Over the past five years, Fall For Greenville has donated over $200,000 to local nonprofit organizations. This year’s targeted groups include Harvest Hope, Project Host, Loaves and Fishes, HandsOn Greenville, Greenville Rape Crisis, and St. Francis Foundation. Hours for Fall For Greenville are: Friday, Oct. 8, 5 – 11 p.m.; Saturday, Oct. 9, 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.; and Sunday, Oct. 10, noon to 7 p.m. is available and city and private lots as well as garages throughout the downtown area. The festival is free to the public. Tickets, which cost $5 per sheet of eight tickets, are used to purchase food, beverages and children’s activities.  Anyone wishing to drink beer and/or wine at the festival must have valid identification and buy a City of Greenville wristband for $1. No pets, coolers, bicycles, lawn chairs, inline skates or skateboards are permitted at the smoke-free festival. For more information, visit www.fallforgreenville.net.

Lovin’ ‘LuLu’s House’

Posted in CD Picks by darielb on August 10, 2010

I’ve been following the career of Columbia, S.C. musician J Edwards for just over a year. I first heard him at a club in Columbia and was struck immediately by the soulful vocals he delivered. Then I got hold of a couple earlier CDs: Watcha Doin’ (2006), which is mainly acoustic blues; and Everything Changes (2008),  electrified and less bluesy, with a full band. The musical arrangements along with the same raw, gut-sucking vocals convinced me to include Everything Changes in my CD Picks (February 11, 2010).

Long story short, when J Edwards told me he was hard at work on a new blues CD, I was giddy with anticipation and more anxious for it than a school girl shopping for her first brassiere.

I’m happy to report that LuLu’s House hits home in a big way.  This ten-track recording overflows with goose-bumpin’ vocals, boot-stompin’ blues and heartstopping musicianship. LuLu’s House beckons us in to meet some good ole down home folks and share in the sumptuous buffet of Southern life. It’s all about eatin’ and leavin’, leavin’ and eatin’. LuLu sets the tone for a warm, if irreverent group of House dwellers. There’s not a loser in the bunch.

Track one, “Aint Gonna Be  Your Dog”  is a love song, but he suspects she’s leaving, so he sets some rules. And I bet LuLu approves.

Baby when you’re home, you walk away from me

And when you talk, you talk away from me

When you laugh, it ain’t with me

I’ll be your everything

But I ain’t gonna be your dog

Track two  is also about leaving. “You Told Me You Loved Me” is a heartachy tune about life’s shortcomings and love’s disappointments. Between vocals by J Edwards and signature guitar work from Nashville artist Rickey Godfrey, you’ll be feeling this straight ahead blues tune.

You said you loved me

That you would never never never go

You said you love me

That you would never never go

Now you say you’re leaving

I say I told you told you so

Told your friends you would change me

Said you were gonna  tie me down

Told your friends you would change me

Said you were gonna tie me down

There are nights I go out drinkin’

You don’t even stick around

I thought you said you loved me baby

At LuLu’s House, love is definitely a double-edged sword.

According to J, “New Shoes” is his take on Northern blues. The shoes are dapper, the coat is fancy and this boy is “whistlin’ while he’s walkin’.” Leavin’ again.

Edwards told me that most of these tunes have been around for years. He said, “I wrote them back when I was playing the Columbia blues clubs every weekend, so when I decided to do another CD, I came up with some different arrangements of blues ideas and songs I’d written. In fact, ‘I Got a Woman’ is one of those songs.”

“I Got a Woman”  is the standout tune off the CD. It features plaintive vocals by J and more searing guitar licks from Rickey Godfrey.

J says response to the tune has been phenomenal. “It’s a solid blues song – simple progressions, simple lyrics … but every blues player I’ve jammed with falls in love with it. Someone will say, ‘Hey, if you’re going to do that song, I wanna play guitar on it.’ I was in Nashville earlier this year, at the Pro Blues Jam with Tim Gonzalez,  the Bourbon Street Blues & Boogie Bar in Printer’s Alley. Rickey Godfrey was on guitar. I think it was maybe the second or third time he played it and … whoa!”

There’s a video of that performance on YouTube. You can see it for yourself at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2E5cv25Zcs.

A side story to that, J told me he had really enjoyed the guys jamming with him that night. Back at the studio, he said the same to producer Mike O’neil , mentioning the bass player, in particular. O’neil knew the guy (Gere Hoffman) and worked with him often, so he wound up playing on the CD, too.

“Taste” is another “taste of somethin’ good,” with lusty, whisky-edged vocals and a performance by the backing band that is solid on its own, but never steps on the vocals.

Rickey Godfrey, a top drawer vocalist in his own right,  explains it like this: “J’s vocals are so strong, so huge, I think we all just tried to stay out of his way, and let him put it out there. No one wanted to play over him, we wanted to support him. It’s not every day you have a vocalist like this to work with.”

Track eight, “Come On In the Bedroom,” is another of my favorites, for the pure lustfulness of it. And again, great band work.

But what about the CD title? I wanted to know where LuLu’s House came from.

“I remember, as a kid,” J Edwards says, “that everyone had songs about LuLu … and  some of them were kinda dirty … so this is my song about LuLu: “Eatin’ About LuLu’s.”

“You know, you see people on the side of the road sometimes with signs ‘Will Work For Beer.’ They’re honest about it.

“Well, this guy, this street musician may drink some, but it’s really about the food.”

He can “eat down to LuLu’s for 65 cents …” He just wants some pancakes. When LuLu’s House turns out to be a cathouse, too, our boy’s not opposed to sharing her bed, but it’s still the “biscuits and hamhocks” he’s really lusting for.

And that’s where LuLu’s House came from. Check out the tuba. Makes you feel like you’re on the streets of New Orleans somewhere, ready to head on over to LuLu’s. For the food.

Players  on LuLu’s House include: vocals, J Edwards; piano and organ, Larry Van Loon; drums and percussion, Mike O’neil; bass, Gere Hoffman; guitar, Kenne Cramer; harmonica, J Edwards; additional guitar on “I Got a Woman” and “You Said You Loved Me, Rickey Godfrey; additional bass on “Eatin’ at Lulu’s” and “Taste,” Kevin Grantt; saxophone, “Summer’s Waiting,” Dana Robbins; tuba on “Eatin’ at LuLu’s,” Matt Glassmeyer.

Recorded at Serenity Hill Studios, Nashville, Tenn; producer, Mike O’neil; engineer, Brian Tortoro; mix, Mark Polack; mastered at Serenity Hill by Mike O’neil and Mark Polack.

For more information, visit the website: jedwardsband.com or look for J Edwards on Facebook.

Birthday Bash, J Edwards Style!

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on July 17, 2010

J Edwards will release his new CD, Lulu's House at the Birthday Bash.

This is one dude who knows how to party. The eleventh annual J Edwards Birthday Bash is set for July 31 at the Jamil Temple in Columbia, S.C.  from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m.

Singer/songwriter J Edwards has been throwing his own birthday party since the year 2000. One Saturday night, which happened to be his birthday, he had a gig booked at a joint called Sandra’s Corner Pocket.

“I invited some blues buddies to come and jam with me,” he remembers. “I couldn’t pay them, but I figured I could handle the bar tab. It was a lot of fun, and the tips covered the tab, so it was a great birthday.”

He did it again and by the third year out, he had so many bands wanting to play he had to make a schedule.

“I’ve had up to 15 bands, but cut back now because I’m actually paying them!” he told me in between finishing work on his new CD, finalizing band schedules, selling tickets and organizing raffles for the nonprofits involved and who knows what else.

The entertainment ranges from full on electric blues to funked up R&B, rockabilly, modern rock and smooth acoustic country.

This year’s line-up covers a lot of ground.  Here are some of the players.

Rob Crosby

Rob Crosby (singer-songwriter/acoustic country)

This Sumpter, S.C. boy moved hisself to Nashville in the late eighties and has scored hits as both songwriter and artist. He has writing credits on “Concrete Angel” performed by Martina McBride, “She’s More” by Andy Griggs and “Holdin’ a Good Hand” by Lee Greenwood.  His own top ten hits include “She’s a Natural,” “Love Will Bring Her Around” and “Burnin’ For You.”

Talking about Crosby, Edwards says, “Rob is just smooth .. that’s all I can say … the boy just drips with honey. His songwriting abilities weave a message that’s pretty phenomenal.” Showtime 5:45 p.m.

Rickey Godfrey

Rickey Godfrey (soul-blues guitarist/vocals)

Whether you’re talking vocals or instrumental, Nashville’s Rickey Godfrey is recognized not just in Music City and his home state of South Carolina, but all over the world. He’s toured and played with Sam Moore, Rufus Thomas, the Box Tops, Johnny Jones and Billy Preston. J Edwards said, “Rickey’s superb bluesmanship captures attention wherever he goes. He’s got such a cool groove. Folks are going to be blown away.” Godfrey, who is currently working on his own blues album for release later this year, also played on Lulu’s House, J Edwards CD on the Serenity Hill label, set for release at the Birthday Bash. I’ve heard a few of the tracks and can’t wait to hear the rest. Showtime 3:15 p.m.

Tommy Tutone

Tommy Tutone (80s pop, rockabilly)

Best known for his hit “867-5309/Jenny” from his gold album Tutone 2, Tommy is working on a new CD called Soul Twang, bringing a new synthesis of rockabilly, soul and country to the table. Gonna be fun. Showtime 6:30 p.m.

Soul Mites (funk-rock)

This quartet has been together since college, and on the S.C. music scene for some 13 years. Lead singer Tim Davis’ raspy voice adds to their unique sound. Edwards said, “These guys are pure funk rock… their grooves are unbelievable.” Showtime 7:30 p.m.

Cravin' Melon

Cravin’ Melon (Southern rock, folk rock, rockabilly)

This is one of those bands you just gotta see live. Their fans, who range from the fanatical  Front Row Club to newbie melonheads are practically part of the show. The band mixes southern charm with tasty guitar licks, vocals and rhythm section to serve up a feast of musical morsels. Get yourself some. Showtime 9:45 p.m.

Midway Blue (Southern rock)

Midway Blue

Out of Florence, S.C., these guys recently played the Charlotte Motor Speedway and won  the semi finals round of the SPEED channel’s talent show, “Fast Track to Fame.”   J Edwards is really enthusiastic about this group. “Midway Blue have a really cool take on Southern country rock … kind of a Beatles’ flair and it’s straight into Craig Morgan country sound with a little  Lynyrd Skynyrd over the top.” Showtime 5:45 p.m.

S-Tribe (experimental)

Latin influences, funky phrasing and straight up rock are words that founders Gabriel Lopez and Charles Funk use to describe their unique musical sound. You’ll have to hear it for yourself. (If you’re already a J Edwards fan, you know Funk as his scorching guitarist.) Showtime 2 p.m.

Soul Mites

General admission tickets for the Birthday Bash are $15 advance/$20 at the door. VIP  tables for four cost $200. A portion of your ticket price will go to one of half a dozen charities. There will also be raffles and silent auctions going on all day.

For more information on the charities, schedules or tickets, visit www.jedwardsband.com or “J Edwards 11th Annual Birthday Bash” page on Facebook or call 803-315-1901. J Edwards Band showtime 8:45 p.m.