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Local and State News

The Capital Area Blues Society Celebrates Twenty Years!
cabs 20th

The Capital Area Blues Society celebrated the twenty year of its existence with a birthday cake celebration at the Breakin' Bread with the Blues on September 24th, 2014. CABS initially started out as a dream and a "mission from God" of Bonnie "Queen B" Stebbins. Ever since she first learned Blues Societies existed the desire to start one in the Lansing area became a passion. Bonnie "Queen B" Stebbins was one of the originators of CABS. On October 7, 1994, Bonnie drove to the County Clerk’s office in Mason to register the name. There was two names to consideration of the blues organization: Capital City Blues Society or Capital Area Blues Society. The Clerk disallowed Capital City Blues Society because it was too similar to Scott Allman’s (presumably registered) name for his radio show, Capital City Blues Cruise. Thus the blues organization became The Capital Area Blues Society.

Ten months after founding CABS Bonnie passed out flyers and leaflets at the summer blues festival held at Riverfront Park seeking like minded blues lovers to help form and guide CABS. She scheduled a meeting at the Green Door and luckily several individuals attended to the meeting and formed the first Board of Directors of CABS in JUly 1995. Bonnie "Queen B" Stebbins was the first president, James Flynn vice president, John Fishbeck treasurer and Char Whittaker was the secretary. The rest is history.

National News and Beyond

Blues Foundation President and Chief Executive Officer Jay Sieleman Steps Down.

Jay Sieleman will leave the Blues Foundation he helped establish in a news release on Tuesday October 28th. Sieleman, who has been at the top of the organization since 2003, plans to step down in September of 2015. He will leave as the longest-serving executive in the foundation’s four-decade history.

Sieleman helped escort in a new period of growth, visibility and profitability for the foundation during his tenure. Over the past decade, Sieleman has dramatically expanded the annual International Blues Challenge and Blues Music Awards and strengthened relations with various member chapters and societies throughout the U.S. and abroad.  He has overseen the development of a permanent Blues Music Hall of Fame, which is slated to open downtown in May.

Sieleman has been serving at the preference of the Blues Foundation’s 25-person board. He informed them he would step down earlier this year, and made the decision official this week.

“When Jay was brought in, it was really a do-or-die situation for the foundation,” said Eric Simonsen, the chair of the foundation’s board.  “Jay brought not only fiscal stability, but the programs that were in place he grew those, and put in new ones as well. The International Blues Challenge has grown leap and bounds; the Blues Music Awards have grown leaps and bounds.

Sieleman said his reasons are both personal and professional reasons for his departure. “It’s a combination of factors, as opposed to a single one,” said Sieleman. “I turn 62 next April, and I’ll start receiving my pension, so financially, I’m able to do it. But, also, with the fundraising and building and opening of the Hall of Fame coming up, I will have done about as much as I can do in the job. And I feel like it’s time for someone else to take over the reins and see what they can do.”

The Foundation’s board has formed a committee to begin the search for a replacement. “They hope to select someone no later than the first of August,” said Sieleman, who will stay on to ease the transition to the new head.

“Jay has blazed a difficult trail to follow,” said Simonsen. “That said, there is going to be someone other out there to lead us. And we hope to find a worthy successor. We’ve got a good committee to look for that person.”

Sieleman, who practiced law for more than 20 years, including internationally in Panama and the Solomon Islands, before coming to the foundation, says he’s proudest of the work he’s done to strengthen the foundation globally which  currently has members in more than 50 countries.

Motown Singer Jimmy Ruffin Has Passed Away at Age 78.

Motown singer Jimmy Ruffin, who found fame with hits including What Becomes of the Brokenhearted, has passed away at age 78. The late singer’s children, Philicia Ruffin and Jimmy Lee Ruffin Jr., confirmed their father's passed away in a hospital in Las Vegas.

Ruffin was one of Motown Records' most memorable voices. Ruffin's most enduring hit has to be 1966's "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted," with its majestic, stately rhythm and his deep soulful vocal ensemble. He followed up that Top 10 hit with "I've Passed This Way Before" in 1967. In 1980 he enjoyed a comeback hit with "Hold on to My Love."

Ruffin was born May 7, 1936 in Collinsville, Mississippi, the older brother of singer David Ruffin. The brothers made their way north, eventually settling in Detroit, where each separately ended up signing with Motown Records. Jimmy signed as a solo artist and David as one of the Temptations.

Like many soul stars, Ruffin enjoyed much success in Europe and lived in England for several years. In 1984, he collaborated with Paul Weller's post-Jam band the Style Council for the song "Soul Deep," a benefit single meant to raise money for striking U.K. coal miners. Later that decade, he would record with the British pop group Heaven 17.
He made his home in London in the '80s and '90s, before returning to the United States.

He had continued success with songs such as I've Passed This Way Before and Gonna Give Her All the Love I've Got.

With his brother David, who died of a drug overdose in 1991 aged 50, he worked on the 1970s album I Am My Brother's Keeper.

The Motown singer found further mainstream success in 1980 when he staged a comeback with his second Top 10 hit, Hold on to My Love, which was produced by Bee Gees member Robin Gibb, who died in 2012. That album contained three songs written by the Bee Gees and one, "Where Do I Go," that Andy Gibb co-wrote.

2014 Blues Blast Music Awards Winners

Each year a group of industry professionals select the nominees for the annual Blues Blast Music Awards. Fans all over the world vote then vote for their favorites in twelve nomination categories. The results of this year’s voting by nearly 12,000 Blues fans will be announced on October 23rd.

And The Winners Are…

Contemporary Blues Album ◦Buddy Guy –Rhythm & Blues

Traditional Blues Album ◦James Cotton – Cotton Mouth Man

Soul Blues Album ◦Bobby Rush with Blind Dog Smokin’ – Decisions

Rock Blues Album ◦Tommy Castro And The Painkillers – The Devil You Know

Acoustic Blues Album ◦Mark T Small – Smokin’ Blues

New Artist Debut Album ◦Shawn Holt And The Teardrops – Daddy Told Me Blues

DVD Recording ◦Royal Southern Brotherhood – Songs From the Road

Song Of The Year “Meet Me In Chicago” by Tom Hambridge and Robert Randolph – Rhythm & Blues (Buddy Guy)

Blues Band ◦The Tedeschi Trucks Band

Male Blues Artist ◦Buddy Guy

Female Blues Artist ◦Beth Hart

Sean Costello Rising Star Award ◦Lisa Mann

It is the privilege and honor of the publisher of the Blues Blast Music organization to select recipients for the Blues Blast Magazine's Lifetime Achievement Awards. These awards are given to outstanding individuals with a lifetime of exceptional accomplishments in Blues music. This year’s recipients are Bobby Rush and Lonnie Brooks. These individuals attended the Blues Blast Music Awards Ceremonies on October 23rd, at The Fluid Event Center in Champaign, Illinois to receive their awards.

 Blues Blast Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award - Bobby Rush

There is one word that epitomizes Bobby Rush: entertainer. As a boy, he visualized himself preaching to a congregation or playing music in front of an audience. Later in his career, Bobby Rush relentlessly toured the South, playing night after night in eventually earning the well-deserved title King of the Chitlin Circuit.

Once he gained the attention of white blues fans, Bobby Rush started headlined blues festivals all over the globe. Among his thirty-seven nominations for Blues Music Awards, he has received thirteen nominations for the prestigious B.B. King Entertainer of the Year award. This year he is nominated for 3 Blues Blast Music Awards. His recording Down in Louisiana was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Blues Album, his second Grammy nomination.

Bobby Rush is proud of the fact he continues to play the smaller clubs for African-American audiences, sustaining his career for several decades. He triumphantly refers to himself as a black blues singer; expertly mix humor, down-home funk and sexy innuendo into a thrilling live show featuring his female shake dancers.

Born in Louisiana in 1937, Emmitt Ellis Jr. was the son of a preacher attending church every Sunday and getting his first exposure to music. Although he never joined the church choir, he learned a few things about playing guitar and harmonica. When the family moved to Chicago in the early 1950s, Bobby Rush started hanging out with Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Jimmy Reed and John Lee Hooker.

When he started performing, he changed his name to Bobby Rush out of respect for his father. He recorded a few singles and had a session with Chess Records but it wasn’t until 1971 that Bobby Rush scored his first hit with Chicken Heads. This record kept Bobby Rush in demand on the club circuit

He continued to issue a steady stream of records that offered his unique perspective on man-woman relationships. Titles like What’s Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander (La Jam), I Ain’t Studdin You (Urgent), Lovin a Big Fat Woman & Hoochie Man (Waldoxy Records) made a Bobby Rush a trailblazer for the current southern soul-blues scene. Over the course of his career, he has more than two hundred and fifty records to his credit.

In the last decade, Bobby Rush has eight titles on his own label Deep Rush Records, These releases feature him with stripped-down accompaniment which highlights his skills as a singer and songwriter and his harmonica and guitar playing. He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2006.

Blues Blast Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award - Lonnie Brooks

Not many people get to re-invent themselves over the course of a lifetime. Lee Baker Jr. has done it twice. He forged a memorable career spanning six decades filled with hit records, spirited live performances, and the fatherly love that nurtured two sons in establishing their own musical careers.

Born in Dubuisson, Louisiana in 1933, Baker spent long stretches with his grandparents growing up. His grandfather would rise early each morning to play his banjo to the delight of his grandson. Baker learned basic chords that kept him interested in playing until his early twenties, when he bought his first guitar.

After a move to Port Arthur, Texas, Baker worked in an oil field and played guitar in his free time. One day the King of Zydeco music, the legendary Clifton Chenier, was driving past the Baker home as Lee was playing guitar on the porch. Chenier quickly convinced the young guitarist to join his Red Hot Louisiana Band. When Chenier decided to move to California, Baker stayed behind and started his own band.

Calling himself Guitar Junior, Baker caught the ear of Eddie Shuler, head of Goldband Records. Junior’s first release for Shuler, the original Family Rules, became a regional hit. Then Baker met Sam Cooke as the singer toured the south and quickly accepted Cooke’s invite to go to Chicago.

Once he settled into the big city, Baker started hitting the clubs, looking for opportunities. He was part of the band on a Jimmy Reed session that produced the monster hit, Big Boss Man. In 1969, Capitol Records released an album under the Guitar Junior name, Broke and Hungry, that failed to generate much interest. Since Luther Johnson had already established himself as Guitar Junior in Chicago, Baker reinvented himself one more time to the name known around the world, Lonnie Brooks.

A spirited, live performer, Brooks offered a unique blend of Chicago blues spiced with hints of zydeco, country, swamp pop plus rock & roll. He had releases on Evidence and Delmark Records in the 70s decade before Alligator Records included four tracks by Brooks on Volume 2 of its Living Chicago Blues series.

As a father, Brooks never tried to push any of his nine children into music. He preferred to provide gentle encouragement. The testament of his approach can be witnessed any time one of his sons, Ronnie and Wayne Baker Brooks, hits the stage and dazzles the crowd with electrifying guitar talent. The three world-class guitarists formed the Brooks Family Reunion band that has thrilled blues festival audiences for over a decade.

In 2010, Lonnie was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, sponsored by the Blues Foundation in Memphis.