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
The next stop will be
Meanwhile, back in the states – the
Blues Music Awards will be going on in
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,
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 until and on Friday nights from to 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
Recently Andrew “Jr. Boy “Jones and his
band were touring the
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
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
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
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
The Sugar Prophets come from the same
rich musical heritage of
(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!
"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.
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
“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
Check out the April 14 issue of Blues Blast
Memphis on Main is a corporate member of the Prairie Crossroads
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
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editors: Sandy Hannum
Contributing Writers: Rich Cibelli
Tech Consultant: Bob Paleczny and BP Computers
Mojo Tech: Sherry Cibelli
3 – Too Slim & the Taildraggers –
May 4 – Kilborn Alley Blues Band – D.R. Digger’s – Champaign –
5 – The Sugar Prophets – Doherty’s –
9 – The Blues Deacons – The
11 – Doghouse Blues – Goodfella’s Pub
& Pizza –
13 – The Sugar Prophets –
14 – The Painkillers – Iron Post –
14 – The Blues Deacons – Alto
19 – The Sugar Prophets – Bradley
Bourbonnais Sportsman’s Club –
20 – The Sugar Prophets – Alto
May 21 – Rock the Stacks 2011 – Kankakee Public Library – to
26 – The Sugar Prophets – Ko-Fusion –
C-U BBQ, Open Blues Jam –
28 – The Impalas – Alto Vineyards –
June 1 – Kilborn Alley Blues Band – D.R. Digger’s – Champaign –
4 – Watseka Theatre Blues, BBQ, and
Arts Festival –
8 – Matt Hill (2011 BMA Best New
Artist nominee) – Goodfella’s Pub & Pizza –
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
15 – Lionel Young Band (2011
June 18 – Candy Foster & the Shades of Blue – Alto Vineyards –
23 – The Sugar Prophets – Ko Fusion – Open Blues Jam –
23 – Sean Chambers – River Bend Bar
& Grill –
June 24 – Keith and Kathy Harden – Alto Vineyards –
June 24-25 –
2 – Albert Castiglia – River Bend Bar
& Grill –
6 – Kilborn Alley Blues Band – D.R.
6 – Laurie Morvan – Goodfella’s Pub
& Pizza –
July 13 - Reverend Raven & CSAB – River Bend Bar & Grill – Kankakee, IL – 7 pm
28 – The Sugar Prophets – Ko Fusion –
29 – The Painkillers – Alto Vineyards
Watseka Theatre Blues & BBQ Festival
June 4 www.watsekatheatre.com
Aurora Blues on the Fox Festival
June 17 & 18 www.downtownaliveaurora.com/
June 24-25 http://www.urbanablues.com
Fri – Sun, July 1 – 3 www.mvbs.org
Ain’t Nothin’ But The Blues Festival
July 15 – 16 http://www.aintnothinbuttheblues.com
Hey, Wolf. There’s
so much great blues goin’ on in the
You got that right, Sonny. Just like heaven on earth.
Wherever you go, you can’t go wrong.