May 2011


                                                    Photo by W. T. Payne Photography


Kilborn Alley Blues Band Starts European Tour May 5

                                 By Sandy Hannum


The Kilborn Alley Blues Band will be leaving for their European tour on May 5. The first stop will be Ospel, the Netherlands for the huge Moulin Blues Festival held May 6 and 7. Kilborn will be playing on the evening of the first day. Nick Moss is playing on the second day, along with some other names you would definitely recognize. Check out the Moulin Blues website.


The next stop will be London, where Kilborn Alley will play a return gig at the Sydenham Blues Club. To quote the London Blues Festival website, “In the band’s ‘2009 London Pubs & Clubs’ tour Kilborn Alley brought audiences to their feet at Charlotte Street, the Sydenham Blues Club, The Oval, and other fine venues.”  The Londoners will be delighted to see Kilborn Alley perform live again.


Meanwhile, back in the states – the Blues Music Awards will be going on in Memphis. The Kilborn Alley Blues Band has been nominated in the Best Band category, but Andy and the guys won’t be there. Hopefully, one of their good friends from the Prairie Crossroads Blues Society who is attending can accept the award on behalf of the band if this should come to pass. Wouldn’t that be a kick!



Through These Eyes

By Rich Cibelli


A long time ago someone mentioned to me that it was better to give than to receive. I’ve had that told to me several times since. Moreover, whenever I do it reminds me that success often happens and we achieve our goals when we come together as a team, focused and willing to work hard.


In that connection, and still fresh in my mind, I’d like to take a few minutes now to give some much deserved thanks to a group of people who are really working hard in our community to promote blues music. In my opinion, this group of volunteers really doesn’t get enough credit for what they do. 


I’m talking about our friends over at WEFT 90.1 FM, Champaign. I’d especially like to mention three people by name. They are Dave Wright, Bob Paleczny and John Patterson. They also happen to be members of PCBS. So what is it that these individuals are doing that would make me go out of my way to give them such high praise?


The answer is simple, my friends -- they are doing an outstanding job of bringing blues music, new and old, to Champaign-Urbana and the surrounding community. For example, WEFT hosts a blues music show every weekday from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. and on Friday nights from 8 to 10 p.m. they feature the best in pre-recorded live blues music.


That being said, I would also like to point out that WEFT isn’t the only radio station in our area that plays blues music. For

example, Larry Williams, who owns and operates WWHP-98.3FM (THE WHIP) over in Farmer City and WGLT 89.1 FM headquartered in Normal, on the campus of Illinois State University, also do their fair share. But it’s the little things that WEFT has been doing for some time now that have really caught my attention. Please allow me to give you an example or two.


Recently Andrew “Jr. Boy “Jones and his band were touring the Midwest and looking to pick up an extra show on their way (continued on next page)


east. Out of the blue, Jones just happened to call his good friend Dave Wright to see if he could help. Turned out The Kilborn Alley Blues Band were scheduled to do a show at The Phoenix around that same time.


Several phone calls later Jones and his band were welcomed to share the bill. However, the band still needed to have a place to stay while in town. So some more phone calls were made to see if anyone could help the band.


Also seeing an opportunity to help some friends in the blues community and the radio station, Bob Paleczny, the co-blues genre director and also our PCBS entertainment committee chair offered a $100.00 donation to help the band. Some time later several more folks had agreed to do the same. Are you getting the picture?


While I did not attend the show the following night, I have heard from several people who did. They say it was a show to remember. Several members of other bands, including a few PCBS members like Josh Spence and Joe Asselin from The Sugar Prophets and Doug Schroer also made the show and got a chance to get up and jam.


However my wife, Sherry, and I did get to go to the WEFT studio and take part in the live radio show with Andrew “Jr Boy” Jones and his band the previous night. What a great time we had meeting the band members and being a part of their live radio performance.




                                                              Photo courtesy of Rich Cibelli

                     Andrew “Jr. Boy” Jones at WEFT Studio



It’s worth mentioning that this isn’t the first time that WEFT has gone out their way to help other blues musicians or PCBS. For example, Dave Wright who hosts his weekly “Dave’s Blues,” show on Tuesdays has invited me to the station on several (continued in next column)


occasions to meet other performers who have come to Champaign to play live on his show.


One case in particular occurred when I was invited to come to the station to listen to Jimmy Warren, Marty “Big Dog” Mercer and Terrance Lape from Electro Glide Records. In addition, there have been several other occasions when I’ve been able to sit in during a show and talk about upcoming Prairie Crossroads Blues Society events or other blues music events that I’ve attended.


Before I go on, I also want to thank our good friend John Patterson. This guy is always doing his best to talk up our society and the blues during his air shows. You can catch his show on WEFT on Thursdays.


Hats off to WEFT for all they do to promote blues music in our community. I look forward to visiting again soon where I’ll always get to enjoy some great blues music -- the music we all love so much.


While I’m on the subject of giving praise, I want to again acknowledge Cody Sokolski  and his wife, Marci Dodds, for their recent donation of $250.00 to PCBS. Cody and Marci are extremely dedicated to making sure the arts are well-represented in our community. 


Also joining PCBS as corporate sponsors are Jeff Grant and Perry Davidson from Fluid Events who put on the annual Urbana Brews, Blues and BBQ Festival as well as many other events at their 88 Broadway venue. 


I also want to thank the owner of Slumberland, Paul Hausladen for his donation of $100.00 and Alex Jenkins & the Bombers band from Westville, Illinois who have joined the PCBS family. Welcome aboard.


In addition, thank you to our friends out at Alto Vineyards for their continued support of blues music in our community.  I encourage all PCBS members to visit their complex on North Duncan in Champaign. Make sure to bring your membership card with you to take advantage of a discounted $2 admission charge. They have a great line-up planned for this year’s Music at the Vines. 


As I’ve mentioned several times before, I believe our best days are still ahead and the Prairie Crossroads Blues Society will continue to grow and prosper as we go about educating our community about the importance of blues music as an art form.


You can mark my words now, that when it happens I will take the time to thank those who go out of their way to make sure that blues music is an important part of our lives. Long Live The Blues!




CD Review – The Sugar Prophets




The Sugar Prophets (debut)

Just One Teaspoon Records



By James “Skyy Dobro” Walker & Amy Walker


Reprinted with permission of Blues Blast magazine



12 songs; 51:56 minutes; Library Quality

Styles: Electric Blues, Rocking Blues, Soul Blues, Jam Band


Spring reminds us of the joy that comes with new birth. Likewise, there can be joy when a new band is formed. Fresh blood full of new ideas, unique sounds, and a fire in the belly can make for a most entertaining musical experience. That is the case with new band The Sugar Prophets and their eponymous debut release.


The multi-talents that each member brought to the band have proved formidable indeed. Their pooled treasures have gelled into a musical dynamo that mightily impressed judges and the standing-ovation-audiences at the International Blues Challenge during February 2-5, 2011. The Sugar Prophets found themselves finalists among the top eight amateur Blues bands from the 110 bands in the Memphis "Battle of the Bands" competition.


The Sugar Prophets come from the same rich musical heritage of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois that produced REO Speedwagon. Proud to be adding to that heritage of such a fertile music scene, powerful singer and harp ace Josh Spence has combined with veteran guitar slingers A.J “Apple Jack” Williams and Joe Asselin (formerly of the Kilborn Alley Blues Band) along with a grooving rhythm section of Al Chapman on bass and Aaron "A-Train" Wilson on drums.

(continued in the next column)



The overall sound and production do The Sugar Prophets proud. It is well above the "produced-at-home-on-my-computer’s-Pro-Tools" CDs we get all the time to review. The packaging is superb; it could have not been cheap on their budget. They decided early on that the packaging would be top notch, and I think it was worth it for a debut release. They spent a good amount of time deciding the order and even the space between each track. Everything The Sugar Prophets did was with the thought process of trying to work with the best of the best whenever possible. The results are as wonderfully refreshing as a spring breeze!


The songs:

"Face Up"-- It must be incredibly hard to choose a song to "lead the parade" on a CD. Which one's the catchiest? Which one's the most musically diverse? Which is the most soulful? Which one gets people up and grooving? The Sugar Prophets deftly picked a surefire winner when they chose "Face Up" as their first track. Not only does it answer all of the above questions perfectly, but the driving guitar interplay and harp work also puts listeners in a good mood and leaves a positive impression for the rest of the album to come.


Hurry, Hurry” is a perfect antidote to winter’s cabin fever. "Hurry, Hurry" is an intricate guitar picking, jumped-up blues ditty with a jolt of Beach Boys' lyrical whimsy: “Put the top down, I love the wind in my face. I love riding down the highway, but going no place!” It's always a good sign when the second song on any CD is its first earworm. The creative guitar solo runs and harmonica work are gems!


“Livin' in Sin” -- Aficionados and lovers of slow blues will find this the best song on the album. Spence pours his heart right through the harp reeds while rueful echoes of early Blues bands add to this track’s seven-minute-plus drama: “Well, we fuss and we fight, but nobody's ever right.... I just want to know--are we living in sin?” This is an interesting deviation from the usual meaning of that phrase, and listeners will welcome it.


“Bad Ass” -- One may chuckle at the title (which invites imaginative or knowing laughter), but the reality of this first-person Rockabilly styled and guitar driven ballad is a bit less funny. A veteran of barroom brawls initially brags about his exploits: “I had this way about me, I had that icy stare. I could look right through a man, as if he just weren't there.” In the end, though, after helping many “see stars beside the moon having never left the room” and after many a red-hot guitar riff, he admits he'd rather change his ways. Classic!


“Big Love” -- Despite this song's name, it's not intended to be romantic. “Love” is a euphemism for -- well, one guess: “Well, I ain't got a whole lot of schooling. I don't read or write too well. But I get done what needs doing when my big love starts to swell!” Once listeners' ears are opened, it's hard (perhaps (continued on the next page)

impossible) not to snicker. The mid song swinging beat is borrowed from the early Allman Brothers Band. The catchy chorus will bounce around in one's head for quite a while -- hopefully not during church services! 


“Lots of Trouble” is a teasing tantalizer of a track. "Lots of Trouble" merrily emphasizes what none of us need (more trouble)! Its hip-swaying intro and guitar-and-harmonica infused middle make this one of the Sugar Prophets' most danceable numbers. The narrator is apparently financially broke in epic proportions. He tells his lady, “I need some dough, I need some bread... Don't need trouble--got lots of that. What I really want is your cash.”


“Brighter Day” is a mid-tempo romantic-sounding, Soul ballad. The song, however, is actually about the deep heartbreak of being separated from a daughter. The only redemption is to keep searching for a brighter day. The catchy refrain and vocal harmonies of “Brighter Day” are so good that it made me go reach for the box to learn the song’s title.


Bigger than Life Size” finds the band experimenting with unique sounds in the mix of this up-tempo Rock and Roller. The punch at the end perfectly fits the title.


“Hey Bernice” is a charming tale of a female admirer who goes from annoying to endearing as she makes near-incessant calls to the narrator's phone. Worth several listens, it was the set opener for each performance at the IBC. The popularity of “Hey Bernice” is understandable with spoken parts so nicely meshing with the rest of the song. It’s addicting, if not as patently-addicting as earlier songs on the album.


“Katie” has a hopping beat with shared vocal harmonies imploring Katie to “stop spreading your lies and tell the truth!” Bassist Al Chapman and drummer Aaron "A-Train" Wilson get their biggest challenge maintaining the unique rhythm in support of scorching harp and guitar runs.


“Heart's Desire – Parts 1 and 2” Initial listening favorites were these last two Reggae-Jam songs. Go figure, huh? Skyy Dobro is supposed to be the “Blues” guy. I think the songs appealed back to my Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead, and Bob Marley days.







Check out the April 14 issue of Blues Blast
magazine for the great cover story
about Andy Duncanson!














Corporate Memberships


Memphis on Main is a corporate member of the Prairie Crossroads Blues Society.  Memphis on Main regularly brings impressive Blues talent to Champaign.



Memphis on Main.png





We are grateful to the following individuals and businesses that have provided donations to support the work of the Prairie Crossroads Blues Society.


Cody Sokolski and Marci Dodds

One Main Development, LLC

Slumberland Furniture





Band Memberships


Alex Jenkins & the Bombers are working on a CD. We are all looking forward to hearing it!


The Kilborn Alley Blues Band has been nominated for Band of the Year by the Blues Music Foundation. Good Luck, guys! They will be leaving for a European tour on May 5, after playing at D.R. Digger’s May 4.


The Sugar Prophets will be playing at Memphis on Main on May 13, and have several other gigs later in the month. Check the calendar!


The Painkillers will be playing at the Iron Post on May 14. Come out for an enjoyable evening of great blues.


Prairie Crossroads Board of Directors


President                            Rich Cibelli                                              


Vice President                   Steve Stoerger


Treasurer                            Teri Stoerger


Secretary                             Greg Altstetter


At-large Members           Sandy Hannum

Tony Odendahl

Josh Spence





PCBS Business


The next Prairie Crossroads Blues Society Meeting is scheduled for May 18th in Room 222 of the Champaign Public Library.


Inclusive, a newsletter of the PCBS, is always looking for new contributors and submissions of finished or unfinished content. Deadline for the next newsletter is May 18, but time-sensitive exceptions will be considered. Please submit articles, ideas, or comments to smhannum@gmail.com. 






Inclusive  Staff


Editors:                                 Sandy Hannum

Kat Brown


Contributing Writers:     Rich Cibelli

James Walker   

Dennis Wismer


Tech Consultant:              Bob Paleczny and BP Computers


Mojo Tech:                         Sherry Cibelli





May 3 – Too Slim & the Taildraggers – Kankakee Valley Boat Club – Kankakee, IL7 pm

May 4 – Kilborn Alley Blues Band – D.R. Digger’s – Champaign – 9 pm

May 5 – The Sugar Prophets – Doherty’s – Decatur, IL7:30 pm

May 9 – The Blues Deacons – The AlamoSpringfield, IL8:30 pm

May 11 – Doghouse Blues – Goodfella’s Pub & Pizza – Pekin, IL

May 13 – The Sugar Prophets – Memphis on MainChampaign7 pm

May 14 – The Painkillers – Iron Post – Urbana6 pm

May 14 – The Blues Deacons – Alto Vineyards – Champaign7:30 pm

May 19 – The Sugar Prophets – Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsman’s Club – Bourbonnais7 pm 

May 20 – The Sugar Prophets – Alto Vineyards – Champaign7:30 pm

May 21 – Rock the Stacks 2011 – Kankakee Public Library – noon to midnight

May 26 – The Sugar Prophets – Ko-Fusion – C-U BBQ, Open Blues Jam – Champaign10 pm

May 28 – The Impalas – Alto Vineyards – Champaign7:30 pm


June 1 – Kilborn Alley Blues Band – D.R. Digger’s – Champaign – 9 pm

June 4 – Watseka Theatre Blues, BBQ, and Arts Festival – Watseka, IL – afternoon and evening

June 8 – Matt Hill (2011 BMA Best New Artist nominee) – Goodfella’s Pub & Pizza – Pekin, IL7 pm

June 10 – Candy Foster & the Shades of Blue – Alto Vineyards - Benefit for the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen – 6 pm – Jeff Helgesen at 7:30 pm

June 15 – Lionel Young Band (2011 IBC winner) – Goodfella’s Pub & Pizza – Pekin, IL7 pm

June 18 – Candy Foster & the Shades of Blue – Alto Vineyards – 7:30 pm

June 23 – The Sugar Prophets – Ko Fusion – Open Blues Jam – Champaign10 pm

June 23 – Sean Chambers – River Bend Bar & Grill – Kankakee, IL7 pm

June 24 – Keith and Kathy Harden – Alto Vineyards – 7:30 pm

June 24-25 – Urbana Blues, Brews & BBQ Festival – Urbana


July 2 – Albert Castiglia – River Bend Bar & Grill – Kankakee, IL8 pm

July 6 – Kilborn Alley Blues Band – D.R. Diggers – Champaign9 pm

July 6 – Laurie Morvan – Goodfella’s Pub & Pizza – Pekin, IL – 7 pm

July 13 - Reverend Raven & CSAB – River Bend Bar & Grill – Kankakee, IL – 7 pm

July 28 – The Sugar Prophets – Ko Fusion – Champaign – Open Blues Jam – 10 pm

July 29 – The Painkillers – Alto Vineyards – Champaign7:30 pm



Watseka Theatre Blues & BBQ Festival

June 4  www.watsekatheatre.com


Chicago Blues Festival

June 10 – 12  http://www.chicagofestivals.net/category/city-of-chicago-festivals/blues-festival


Aurora Blues on the Fox Festival

June 17 & 18  www.downtownaliveaurora.com/


Urbana Blues, Brews, & BBQ Festival

June 24-25  http://www.urbanablues.com


Mississippi Valley Blues Festival

Davenport IA

Fri – Sun, July 1 – 3 www.mvbs.org


Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues Festival

Bloomington IL

July 15 – 16  http://www.aintnothinbuttheblues.com


Mt. Bluesmore





Hey, Wolf. There’s so much great blues goin’ on in the Midwest this summer. It’s hard to choose!


You got that right, Sonny. Just like heaven on earth.


Wherever you go, you can’t go wrong.