Wed. Feb. 15 — Sun. Feb. 19
$15 and below
Charleston's annual celebration of authentic blues music continues this week as the 2006 Bonterra Blues Bash rolls along. Organized by local musician and enthusiast Gary "Shrimp City Slim" Erwin, the Blues Bash hits a variety of clubs and venues — from Folly Beach to downtown to the Isle of Palms.
Tickets are available for shows at the venues. Prices range between $3 and $15 (although many events are free to the public). For information, visit www.bluesbash.com or call Erwin's hotline at 762-9125.
Following are some of the highlights and critical "picks of the week" for the second half of the Bonterra Lowcountry Blues Bash 2006.
A Georgia-Based Great From Way Back
Jamaican-born singer/guitarist Eddie Kirkland, 83, has recorded with John Lee Hooker and toured with Otis Redding ... and played guitar while standing on his head on TV's Don Kirshner's Rock Concert! Kirkland grew up in south Alabama and relocated to Detroit in the '40s. In the '50s and '60s, he recorded with various Motor City bands and musicians, developing a raucous R&B sound and a lively performing style. By the late '60s, he was situated back South in Macon, Ga. His latest disc is a sultry 'n' soulful, 12-song disc titled Booty Blues. (Wed. Feb. 15, Cumberland's; Thurs. Feb. 16, Charleston Co. Library)
COREY HARRIS & THE 5X5 BAND
The Worldly-Wise Grooves of a Global-Minded Cat
Blues musician and musical anthropologist Corey Harris was the subject of Martin Scorsese's film Feel Like Going Home, an episode in the PBS series The Blues. On his 2002 release, Downhome Sophisticate (Rounder), he and his band blend U.S. blues, African pop, rock, and electronica. On the brand-new LP Daily Bread and live collection Live at Starr Hill, they expand further into "world music" territories. (Thurs. Feb. 16, The Pour House)
DUWAYNE BURNSIDE & THE MISSISSIPPI MAFIA
Son Done Good
Duwayne Burnside & The Mississippi Mafia might well be one of this year's highlights with their authentic, guitar-driven country blues. Miss.-based guitarist Duwayne Burnside — son of the late, great R.L. Burnside and an adjunct member of the North Mississippi Allstars — makes it back to town behind a hot new album titled Under Pressure, produced by ex-Squirrel Nut Zippers guitarist Jimbo Mathus (of The Knockdown South). The disc features a version of Albert King's "I Got the Blues" and an expansive, soulful take on his father's "Bad Luck City." (Fri.Feb. 17, The Pour House)
HEAVEN "WILDCHILD" DAVIS
There's Only One
Beltin' out a hardy mic of blues, soul, and R&B, Atlanta's Heaven "Wildchild" Davis Blues came up singing gospel in the church choir before finding her niche as a blues vocalist. She acquired the nickname from a group of students at Georgia Tech's WREK radio station where she was a cohost and founder of the "Lady Katherine's Big Booty Power House Blues Show," a series in honor of all female blues performers. Davis recently completed a tour of France and England promoting her new album, Steamy. The blues "diva" vocalist takes part in the "Lady Sings the Blues" event alongside Shelley Magee & the Bad Deeds. (Fri. Feb. 17, Cumberland's)
MISS WANDA JOHNSON
A Breath of Carolina
Miss Wanda Johnson, originally from Anderson, S.C., is a charismatic soul and blues singer with a strong voice. She writes fine original material, and possesses a stage charm that can win over any audience. Her brand-new album (to be released next week) is titled Natural Resource — a collaborative effort with Shrimp City Slim — and is a full-length follow-up to '03's Call Me Miss Wanda. Slim and his band will be backing Johnson during her performances this week. (Fri. Feb. 17; Mills House; Sat. Feb. 18, Mills House)
TINSLEY ELLIS W/ DELTA MOON
Tinsley's On Fire ... As Always
Known for his blistery chops and intense stage persona, Atlanta native Tinsley Ellis specializes in a style of electric blues that connects the dots between the soulful Delta blues of Muddy Waters, the shronk of the Stax sound, the Southern-fried Texas blues of ZZ Top, Johnny Winter, and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and classic British Invasion rock. He fronted popular Atlanta act The Heartfixers before splitting for a solo career in the late '80s and releasing a number of albums on the Alligator and Capricorn labels. The singer-guitarist's latest effort — a live album titled Highwayman (Alligator) — follows last year's moody, minor-key collection, The Hard Way (Telarc). Atlanta-based blues and R&B quintet Delta Moon — guitarist Mark Johnson, vocalist Kristin Markiton, lap steel player Tom Gray, bassist Phil Skipper, and drummer Scott Callison — play a sultry, swingin' mix of pop-rock, boogie, and slide guitar blues. Their new album is titled Howlin'. (Sat. Feb. 18, The Pour House)
"BLUES RELIEFFUND BENEFIT"
Smoky & Company Jam for a Good Cause
Smoky Weiner & The Hot Links are a longtime blues-rock staple in Charleston. Led by singer Andy "Smoky" Weiner and harp player "Nature Boy" Nik, they combine swing, blues, rock, and wit. Graham Whorley & Iridescent Sol, led by local guitarist and vocalist Graham Whorley, specialize in an explorative style of bluesy jam-rock and tunes influenced by a wide array of classic electric blues-rock styles. Local trio Tommy Thunderfoot & The Accelerators, featuring long-haired electric guitarist Tommy Thunderfoot, play with a riffy style in the vein of Stevie Ray Vaughn & Double Trouble. All play this Sunday from 4-8 p.m. as part of a special benefit show. "Proceeds go to the Blues Relief Fund, which has, to date, distributed about $20,000 to musicians and their survivors who became victims of crime, disease, and accidents," says Weiner. "This fund has absolutely no administrative costs. It's there so we don't have to have a benefit after something happens to someone. If there is a crisis the money is already there." (Sun. Feb. 19, Bowens Island Restaurant)
NICK MOSS & THE FLIP TOPS
Carrying the Toddlin' Town Torch
Nick Moss & The Flip Tops kick ass. Chicago-based electric guitarist Moss and his band — guitarist and harp player Gerry Hundt, pianist and bassist Bob Welsh, bassist Dave Woo, and drummer Victor Spann — play regularly at Buddy Guy's club Legends and continually impress critics and fans with a "mastery of the classic Chicago sound." As Moss puts it, "I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel, or trying to bring things into the new millennia. I'm just playing what was handed down to me and do it justice." Their latest disc is titled Count Your Blessings. (Sun. Feb. 19, A Dough Re Mi)