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Local and State News

NEW VENUE OPENING In Albion Michigan: A new venue featuring various genres’ including blues is opening in Albion, Michigan.  Venue management is currently planning to have a combination blues show and jam session on the first Monday of every other month.  The first blues show will feature Pogo Rey and the Blue Haze on March 2nd at 7pm at the Bohm Theater located at 201 South Superior Street, Albion, Michigan.    https://www.facebook.com/bluesatthebohm

Michigan Musician, Joshua Davis, Auditions on NBC’s  'The Voice'

Joshua Davis of Lansing's band Steppin’ In It gave a spectacular performance on NBC's "The Voice." Davis appeared Monday on the season premiere of the show, singing Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released" during the show's "blind auditions."

Judges Christian Aguilera, Pharrell Williams, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton listened intensely as Davis' smooth voice enthralled the studio audience.

The judges became excited as well. Right away, Shelton and Levine turned around, signaling they wanted Davis on their team.

Shelton and Levine battled it out and gave their pitches to Davis, asking him to join their teams. In the end, Davis opted for Shelton's team.

"It's crazy the way you've developed this sound," Shelton said. "It's so different than anything else we've seen come across this stage, dude. I'd love to have the chance to work with you."

Davis, lives in Traverse City with his family and performs both locally  in the Traverse City area — the Workshop Brewing Company, Rare Bird Brewery, Short's Brewing Company — and statewide with bands including the Joshua Davis Trio, Shout Sister Shout, The Starlight Six and Lansing’s Steppin' In It.

Joshua has performed live on internationally syndicated programs Mountain Stage, Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour and Backstage Pass. He has played scores of prestigious festivals and venues not to mention every festival Michigan has to offer.

The competition will continue for several weeks on NBC's popular reality show. The second installment of the show airs Tuesday night February 24th. Judges Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera and Pharrell Williams face away from contestants, turning to see them only if they like what they hear.

This is just the first segment in the competition. The show will features several competitions, including blind auditions, battle rounds, knockouts and live performance shows with audience voting. The grand prize winner gets a recording contract.

Let us in the Mid-Michigan area wish him the best of luck!

You can follow Davis, who currently lives in Traverse City, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JoshuaDavisMusic.

The West Michigan Blues Society 25th Anniversary Party

The West Michigan Blues Society will be holding a 25th Anniversary Party at Billy's Lounge in Grand Rapids on Sunday, March 1; 2015.Members of the Capital Area Blues Society are invited to join in the celebration. CABS members will be able to party with the West Michigan blues crowd by showing a valid CABS membership card for FREE ADMISSION. Those who are not CABS, WMBS, KVBA, or DBS members must pay a $20 cover, but that includes a one year membership to the West Michigan Blues Society. and generous discounts at Billy's and other Grand Rapids venues. The music guests will be the Kinsey Report with special guest Jimmie Stagger opening act. Doors open at 1PM music starts at 2PM. West Michigan Blues Society will have BBQ goodies for purchase and some killer anniversary cake.

Felix Ybarra
West Mich. Blues Soc.

National News and Beyond

Eric Clapton, Tommy Brown and Little Richard Will Be Inducted Into the Blues Hall of Fame

Eric Clapton, Tommy Brown and Little Richard will be inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame at the 36th Blues Music Awards on May 7 in Memphis, Tennessee.

Eric Clapton

Clapton will join such great guitarists in the Blues Hall on May 7th in Memphis, Tennessee as Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Freddie King, Albert King, Chuck Berry, Buddy Guy, Lead Belly, Mike Bloomfield, Bonnie Raitt and Stevie Ray Vaughan. The Blues Foundation recognizes in particular Clapton’s role in popularizing the blues in the 1960s. This achievement came first with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, followed by Cream and Derek and the Dominos. His later solo work, such as his ‘Riding With The King’ with B.B. King and his Robert Johnson tribute record ‘Me and Mr. Johnson,’ also contribute to the recognition.

Clapton topped the Billboard charts with an album of blues standards: From the Cradle, in 1994, Unplugged album in 1992, his Robert Johnson tribute, Me and Mr. Johnson in 2004 and his collaboration with B.B. King, Riding With the King, in 2000.  His Crossroads Guitar Festival is both a showcase for many of the world's leading guitarists and a fundraiser for the Crossroads Centre."

Little Richard

Little Richard’s fellow rock ‘n’ roll pioneers in the Blues Hall include Berry, Fats Domino and Bo Diddley. The induction acknowledges the blues idiom in Richard’s early recordings.

Richard's earliest recordings were in the blues vein continued to employ a blues format, often accelerated to a frenzied tempo, on many of his sessions.  Gospel was also a profound force in Little Richard's life and music, and at times during his career he left the rock 'n' roll stage to study, preach and sing the gospel. He returned to the secular side eventually maintaining a mission in both worlds handing out religious tracts at his rock concerts.

Born December 5, 1932, in Macon, Georgia, Richard Wayne Penniman stunned audiences even in his adolescent days performing with minstrel shows. His lives shows were still more frantic, to the point even his films could inspire riots among teenaged fanatics. The list of performers he inspired is endless, from James Brown to the Beatles to Jimi Hendrix, who was once the guitarist in Richard's band. Even since his hit making days have been over, he has remained a charismatic celebrity. Once "The King of the Blues," he has since anointed himself "The Originator, the Emancipator and the Architect of Rock 'n' Roll."

Tommy Brown

Tommy Brown, hailed during the 1950s as "one of the most dynamic entertainers in show business," has spent most of the past four decades out of the performing spotlight. However, his resume of vintage records, onstage theatrics and a 21st century career revival have brought him long overdue recognition. Brown was a friend of 2015 Blues Hall of Fame inductee Little Richard when both were starting out. He remembers letting Richard sleep in his station wagon when times were tough. A young James Brown picked up cues for his fabled stage show from both of them.

Brown was born in Atlanta on May 27, 1931, and began performing as a dancer when he was in the first grade. He also worked as a drummer before he became a stand-up singer. Brown began recording in 1950 and sang (and sobbed) on the No. 1 R&B hit Weepin' and Cryin' with the Griffin Brothers in 1951. The song evolved from a real life experience, when he broke down while singing onstage as his fiancé walk in with another man. Humor was an important part of his show, however, and in the 1960s he began performing and recording as a comedian.

After stays in St. Louis, Chicago, where he teamed on shows with Otis Clay, and New York, Brown settled back in Atlanta in 1977 to run the Landmark West Personal Care Center. After fans sought him out to interview him and book him on festivals in the U.S. and Europe, he began traveling and recording again. His Classic Tommy Brown CD, on his own Chittlin' Circuit label, reintroduced listeners to the rocking, crying and shouting blues he waxed on labels such as Savoy, King, United and Imperial.

Tommy Brown, Little Richard and Eric Clapton will be inducted at the Blues Hall on May 7th in Memphis, Tennessee.

The Blues Foundation preserves blues music history and recognizes blues performances and recordings. It also oversees the Blues Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which has welcomed some 130 performers into its ranks since the first inductees joined in 1980.

Singer Songwriter Leslie Gore Passes Away at 68.

Singer-songwriter Lesley Gore, who topped the charts in 1963 at age 16 with her epic song, "It's My Party," and followed it up with the hits "Judy's Turn to Cry," and "You Don't Own Me," died Monday February 16, 2015. She was 68. Gore, a nonsmoker, died of lung cancer at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan.

Gore was born Lesley Sue Goldstein in Brooklyn and raised in Tenafly, New Jersey. Her father, Leo Gore, was a wealthy manufacturer of children's clothes and swimwear. She was a junior at the Dwight School for Girls in nearby Englewood when "It's My Party" became a No. 1 hit. It was later nominated for a Grammy Award for rock and roll recording selling over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with a degree in English/American literature.

Gore's other hits include "She's A Fool," ''Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows," "That's the Way Boys Are" and "Maybe I Know."

She sang at the 1964 T.A.M.I. Show in Santa Monica, California, alongside future Rock and Roll Hall of Famers James Brown and the Rolling Stones. Gore also played Catwoman's sidekick in the cult TV comedy "Batman."

In the 1990s, Gore co-wrote "My Secret Love" for the Allison Anders' film "Grace of My Heart," released in 1996. A couple of years later, she appeared in "Smokey Joe's Cafe" on Broadway. Gore had been working on a stage version of her life with playwright Mark Hampton when she died.

In 2005, she released "Ever Since," her first album in 30 years, but was sure to revisit older hits in front of fans. "If I've learned anything in this business," she told The New York Times that year, "how stupid would it be not to do 'It's My Party' when people come to hear it?"

She officially came out to the public when she hosted several episodes of the PBS series, "In The Life," which dealt with gay and lesbian issues.

During the 2012 presidential campaign, Gore turned "You Don't Own Me" into an online video public service announcement demanding reproductive rights which starred Lena Dunham and Tavi Gevinson, among others

In the last few years, she performed at Feinstein's at the Loews Regency in New York and, along with Spector and LaLa Brooks, headlined the "She's Got the Power" concert outdoors at Lincoln Center in 2012.

In addition to Sasson, Gore is survived by her brother and mother, Ronny.