Featuring an unprecedented 4 International Blues Challenge (IBC) "Albert King" award winning guitarists and 2008 champion band Trampled Under Foot. Jonn Richardson (2005), Sean Carney (2007), Nick Schnebelen (2008) and JP Soars (2009). In addition, Blues legends Henry Gray and Jimmy Thackery along with 2006 Guitar Center "King Of The Blues" national Champion, Matt O'Ree, along with Ricky Nye, Gene Walker and 2009 IBC Youth Showcase "Best" Micah Kesselring. Contains 4 new original tracks and a few old standards with a new modern Blues vibe.
Blues For A Cure ‘09 included Delta Groove recording star Candye Kane and her fabulous guitarist/producer Laura Chavez, as well as the Motor City’s legendary Johnnie Bassett & The Blues Insurgents, alongside exciting regional talent like Omar Coleman and Gus Lambros. Joe Whitmer, producer of The Blues Music Awards and The International Blues Challenge, volunteered as emcee. Friends traveled from places like Wheeling, Greensboro, Virginia Beach and Hartford, CT to attend Blues For A Cure.
Last year, we kicked off a tradition of inviting those, whose schedules allowed, to participate in a studio jam on the Sunday after Blues For A Cure at Central City Recording Studio in Columbus. At The 2009 International Blues Challenge, “Blues Cures Studio Jam” was made available, just one month after it was recorded, as a gift in exchange for donations that support cancer research and blues music. We are proud our first Blues Cures Studio Jam has raised over $1000 for The Blues Foundation and $500 for The Columbus Blues Alliance.
I was honored Mark Puskarich asked me to co-produce the project this time. I looked forward to both performing with such a diversely talented lineup and working in my new role. Mark’s dedication to this concept made it possible this year. His enthusiasm and expertise for using music to bring about good continue to be a driving force behind Blues For A Cure.
On December 13, 2009, we faced the challenge of recording essentially three different bands in one day. I think we ended up with a release that makes a strong case for marathon sessions that were common place in the days when Baton Rouge, LA native Henry Gray recorded in Chicago with Howlin’ Wolf and Jimmy Rogers on Chess Records. Henry Gray is a 2010 Blues Music Awards nominee and a 2006 National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship Award Recipient – Henry got his from President George W. Bush – the highest honor our government presents to artists.
It’s been a personal career highlight to work with Henry Gray, along with Hubert Sumlin, on a number of occasions. The man who made that all possible is Andy Cornett, of Baton Rouge. Trampled Under Foot’s Kris Schnebelen drums on Gray’s tracks bridging a 60-year age gap with his thunderous Kansas City shuffle.
Also for Henry’s pair of full band tracks, my good friend and 2005 IBC and Albert King Award winner Jonn Richardson plays Luther Tucker to my Robert Lockwood.
I thought it would be great to ask Henry to play a double boogie-woogie with Cincinnati’s Ricky Nye, who will compete in the 2010 IBC. Ricky and Jonn make a great stylistic pairing backed by Trampled Under Foot on the fiery “Central City Blues.”
The 2009 IBC champ and Albert King Award winner J.P. Soars jumps it T-Bone style backed by Trampled Under Foot with venerated Columbus native Gene Walker on “The Hustle is On.”
Matt O’Ree is the winner of Guitar Center’s 2006 King of The Blues Competition, and 2009 marked the second BFAC appearance of The Matt O’Ree Band, consisting of Eric Safka, Lance Taylor and Lew Rosengrant. Matt and his band came to our attention at the 2009 International Blues Challenge, and they will return in to compete in 2010.
We were really honored that six-string virtuoso Jimmy Thackery agreed to join us this year, not only for the Blues Cures Studio Jam, but also to host a great Master Class at The Jazz Academy. Jimmy and I, along with Matt and his rock solid band, pay tribute to B.B. King, who once again autographed a guitar for auction at Blues For A Cure, on King’s own composition, “I Need You So Bad.”
The Matt O’Ree Band jammed with 16-year-old Micah Kesselring, recognized at the 2009 International Blues Challenge Youth Showcase, at Summertime Blues For A Cure. That combination worked great in the studio, especially with Mr. Thackery ripping it up on “No Whiskey Blues.” Yes, there’s a story behind this title, actually two.
The 2008 IBC/Albert King Award winner Trampled Under Foot are Danielle Hudspeth, Nick Schnebelen and Kris Schnebelen and have become a BFAC favorite. They were delighted at the prospect of recording with Jimmy Thackery. Koko Taylor’s “Voodoo Woman,” passionately read by Danielle, is a great vehicle to realize that opportunity, along with the stylistically versatile JP Soars.
TUF’s Nick Schnebelen fronts the 2008 IBC champs on Tommy Johnson’s “Maggie Campbell Blues” featuring Thackery and Kesselring in some hot guitar interplay with Nick.
“Chloe’s Song” developed organically in the studio with Eric Safka coming up with a theme and J.P. orchestrating the solos featuring Nick and Matt on a tune the musicians dedicate to a very special young woman who touched our hearts over that weekend and is beginning her brave battle with cancer.
We always seem to close the session out with something interesting. This year was no exception as Jimmy Thackery wrote a tune, “IBC’n You,” on the spot to be recorded by TUF’s rhythm section backing Nick, Jonn, J.P. and I for an all-star Albert King Award jam session.
Baton Rouge based photographer Jenn Ocken made the trip to BFAC this year to volunteer and donate prints for our silent auction. Jenn also photographed this session, along with Frank Tuttle, and designed the graphic presentation you are holding in your hands. Frank and Mark Puskarich shot video of the session, with Frank editing a number of clips that are posted on our website and YouTube.
I dedicate this CD to the memories of my uncle Gary Carney and my cousin Miles Duvivier with love and music in my heart.
A very special thanks to the guys at Central City Recording: Max Lewis and Andrew Dodson for allowing your studio to be chaos for one day. What a wonderful 8 hours in the studio on December 13, 2009, with a group of amazing artists and most of all, wonderful people. To my sister Lisa for proofing everything on a minute’s notice and catching all the small things. Jenn Ocken and Jonn Richardson for your beautiful photographs, designs and artwork. Mark Frizzell and Dave Marsh, of West-Camp Press, for making my small projects of big importance to your facility. Frank Tuttle for your photographs and all the great video you shot. Thanks so much to everyone for supporting our cause. We all work so very hard to help make an impact on cancer research and Keeping The Blues Alive. – Mark Puskarich
CD cover, CD insert graphic design and CD insert by Jenn Ocken of Ocken Photography. www.ockenphotography.com
Video and additional photos by Frank Tuttle of Tuttle Images, www.tuttleimages.com
Tony’s Treasures Productions is proud to sponsor this recording project to help support fundraising for cancer research and the Blues Foundation. It was a pleasure and thrill to work with such great artists and witness their enthusiasm for their craft. Thank you for supporting great Blues music two great causes. – Mark Puskarich