2012 was an incredible year for Blues For A Cure with outdoor blues festivals in Harrison County, Ohio at Sally Buffalo Park and a major role at The Granville Hot Licks Blues Festival - the two events that set the "stage" for the recording you now hold in your hands.
The essence of this series and BFAC is to celebrate blues music and raise funds to fight cancer and we are truly blessed to have so many talented musicians on board who embrace this ideal.
Blues Cures Studio Jam Vol. 5 certainly boasts the largest roster of players in this live-in-studio series, which in previous releases, has featured Trampled Under Foot, Duke Robillard, Jonn Richardson, Henry Gray, Enrico Crivellaro, Jimmy Thackery, Joey Gilmore, JP Soars, Dave Workman, Matt O’Ree, Steve Gerard and many other international blues stars.
Continuing our IBC theme, we are very excited to welcome reigning Best Guitarist and 2012 International Blues Challenge second place winners, The Bart Walker Band, along with veteran rhythm section Paul Ossola on bass, Lynn Williams on drums and the incomparable Reese Wynans on piano and organ.
We were thrilled to welcome back Florida bluesman and 2006 IBC champ Joey Gilmore, and to pair him with 2010 second place IBC winner Karen Lovely, of Portland, Oregon, dueting on, "Baby You've Got What It Takes." I took a chance on this tune and opted to play rhythm guitar, with young guitarist Benjamin Thomas taking the wheel and he rose to the occasion with amazingly original and inspired fret work. Dayton based Marty Romie returns on this and several other tracks along with Delaware, Ohio drummer Brian Duress.
New Jersey based Matt O'Ree and his band connected with Blues For A Cure when they competed in the IBC and they've been a BFAC favorite ever since. It was a sultry musical affair when they meet Karen Lovely for a driving rendition of a blues staple, “Rock Me Baby”.
Micah Kesselring was recognized at the first ever IBC Youth Showcase and he will compete in the 2013 solo/duo division. Micah is joined by veteran bluesman Steev Inglish on harp on a Robert Johnson blues standard.
Canton based young lions, The Brighter Side Band have also participated in the IBC Youth Showcase and will compete in the big show in 2013. Jake, Fuad, Anthony and Steve were on cloud nine after recording one of their own tunes with Bart Walker and Reese Wynans and it was a personal highlight to witness Reese mentoring these dedicated and talented young musicians.
Steev Inglish and I go way back and I'm very happy that he's resurfaced on the blues scene recently. Steev, Ben, Marty, Brian and I recorded Steev's own "Fool's Advice," and I really enjoyed paying homage to Robert Lockwood, Jr. on this tune.
Jimmy Thackery, who appeared on Blues Cures Vol. 2, returns with his stellar band, The Drivers; Mark Bumgarner on bass and George Sheppard on drums. Jimmy's reading of a Jimmy McCracklin gem is a personal favorite for me, with a super vocal from Thackery and truckloads of the best real blues guitar you'll find anywhere. Reese Wynans joins in on piano, effectively recalling the magical era of Texas based Duke/Peacock Records in his stellar work.
We're also quite pleased to welcome back 2009 IBC champion and Best Guitarist winner, J.P. Soars and his new band Southern Hospitality co-fronted by Florida singer/guitarist Damon Fowler and Memphis keyboard phenom Victor Wayneright, along with rock solid support from Chris Peet on drums and Chuck Riley on bass. It's electricity in the air when they meet Central Ohio based rising star Long Tall Deb.
In keeping with the tradition we've established over the last five years, there are numerous interesting collaborations on this disc that you simply won't hear anywhere else and just too many amazing moments to describe.
I want to thank my friends and BFAC co-organizers, Mark Puskarich and Steve Mack for their time, talent and dedication to this vision and legacy.
Cancer has claimed the lives of three individuals who were not only my friends, but who were also passionate about Blues For A Cure. I dedicate this recording to the lives, music and memories of Andy Cornett, Johnnie Bassett and Lorne VanFossen. - Sean Carney