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A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

Category: Blues
January 2, 2015 at 5:02 AM

Mark Hummel takes a flyer with Bluebird Records | Concert preview

If you love Chicago blues, you are no stranger to B.B. King’s “Sweet Little Angel” and Muddy Waters’ “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl.”

But did you know that these songs, popularized as electric blues in the ’50s, go back to the acoustic ’30s?

Harmonica professor Mark Hummel does, and he’s prepared some soulful lesson plans on the subject for his annual Blues Harmonica Blowout, which hits Jazz Alley next week.


Comments | More in Blues | Topics: Billy Boy Arnold, Blues Harmonica Blowout, Charlie Baty

November 2, 2014 at 11:19 AM

The Black Keys crank it up to 11 | Concert review

If you are a fan of spontaneity, it may disappoint you to learn that the Black Keys played the exact same set Saturday at KeyArena as they did on Friday in Portland and Vancouver the night before that. The benefit of all that repetition was easy to see, however, as the band turned in an impressive marathon of some of its biggest hits that was on point from start to finish.


Comments | More in Blues, Rock/Pop | Topics: Concert Review, KeyArena, The Black Keys

October 30, 2014 at 4:17 PM

Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney never wanted to play drums | Concert preview

\When Patrick Carney was 15, he lied about his age to get a job washing dishes at a local restaurant. His mom told him that if he saved half his money, he could spend the other half on anything he liked. At the time, Carney was taking guitar lessons, and he figured the best way to increase his chances of joining a band was to become the easiest person to make music with.


Comments | More in Blues, Rock/Pop | Topics: "Turn Blue", Black Keys, Concert Preview

April 21, 2014 at 12:01 PM

Old sounds made new at the Tractor | Concert review

St. Paul and the Broken Bones played the Tractor Tavern Saturday with Radio Raheem.

St. Paul and the Broken Bones played the Tractor Tavern Saturday with Radio Raheem.

Neo-soul band St. Paul and the Broken Bones’ first time playing in the state of Washington was Saturday, and a sold-out crowd at the Tractor Tavern rewarded the Birmingham, Ala., band for their journey by showering them with affection.

It was a night of old sounds made new, especially with Seattle band Radio Raheem opening things up. They’re a quirky outfit that mashes together everything from 80s music and a little rap with a little neo-soul/funk vibe. It’s a mouthful, but it’s reflective of the band’s multiple influences, all built around highlighting frontwoman Josie Howell’s commanding vocals. 


Comments | More in Blues, R & B/Hip-hop, Rock/Pop | Topics: radio raheem, st. paul and the broken bones, Tractor Tavern

January 10, 2014 at 11:03 AM

Blues greats pay tribute to Sonny Boy Williamson | Concert preview

(l-r) John Mayall, R.W. Grigsby, Rick Estrin, James Harman, June Core, Mark Hummel. (Nick McCabe)

(l-r) John Mayall, R.W. Grigsby, Rick Estrin, James Harman, June Core, Mark Hummel. (Nick McCabe)

Across the tracks and down a country road outside Tutwiler, Miss. — where W.C. Handy first heard a country bluesman playing a song Handy later published as “Yellow Dog Blues” — stands a modest shrine at the edge of a field often visited by blues fans — the grave of the great harmonica player Sonny Boy Wiliamson II.


Comments | More in Blues | Topics: John Mayall, Mark Hummel, Rick Estrin

December 27, 2013 at 5:10 PM

7 wildly different top 10 album lists of 2013

Whether you’re into the Seattle scene, hip-hop, jazz, dance, pop, country, Americana, punk or world music, it’s been a great year for music. Below is a collection, in alphabetical order (by writer) of The Seattle Times’ 2013 Top 10 lists.

It’s remarkable how few artists made more than one writer’s list — Arctic Monkeys, Pearl Jam, The Head and the Heart, King Krule, Shelby Earl, Migos (warning: language), Young Thug, Earl Sweatshirt and ILLFIGHTYOU — and none made more than two. That speaks to the wide reach of our contributors, but also to the fragmented taste pockets in music these days.

We hope you see something here you loved but also something you haven’t heard yet. Because that’s what it’s all about. Finding the best new stuff, every year.

Happy New Year!



Comments | More in Americana, Blues, Country, Dance, Folk, Jazz, R & B/Hip-hop, Rock/Pop, The Bonus Track | Topics: Top 10 2013

December 13, 2013 at 4:28 PM

A book and recordings by Dave Van Ronk, the fascinating source for ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’

Dave Van Ronk bookBack in the early ’60s, when every musician I knew, including me, was trying to learn guitar so we could play folk songs like Bob Dylan or blues like Lightnin’ Hopkins, one of the guys we all copied was Dave Van Ronk, the bearded finger-picker with the brawny, salt’n’pepper voice whose life story has now inspired the Coen Brothers’ poignant new film about the early-’60s Greenwich Village folk scene,  “Inside Llewyn Davis.”

Why did we like Dave?


Comments | More in Americana, Blues, Folk | Topics: "Down in Washington Square", "Inside Llewyn Davis", "The Mayor of MacDougal Street"

November 23, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Taj Majal brings ‘sweet country blues’ to holiday run at Jazz Alley | Concert review

The holiday season is here, which means traditions like Frangos, The Nutcracker at McCaw and the carousel at Westlake. But perhaps no Seattle holiday tradition is more welcome than Taj Mahal’s annual Thanksgiving stand at Jazz Alley, which started Friday with a wonderful show. This is the 18th Thanksgiving Mahal has played Jazz Alley. He may…


Comments | Topics: Concert Review, Taj Mahal

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