Blues & Bourbon Wednesday
at The Starlet Room
5:30pm doors | 6:30-9pm music!
ONLY $10 admission most nights!
Dance Floor + Food + Bourbon Flights
The Starlet Room (Above Harlow's)
2708 J St., Sacramento CA 95616
We've lined up a superb Wednesday series of blues artists
from SoCal, NorCal and Delta to Delta!
Come on up and get on down!
Check out this write up about the series in Submerge Magazine:
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|February 19 - Mark Hummel's Deep Basement Shakers CD Release Party (San Francisco, California) - $12
"Mark Hummel came of age in the early '70s, at the height of rock and roll, like many of his peers went and bought a harmonica and hasn't stopped playing since…he's a seasoned showman who knows more than a thing or two about how to please an audience." - (The New Yorker)
Toronto, ON - Electro-Fi Records is proud to announce the release of Grammy-nominated Harp Ace MARK HUMMEL's WAYBACK MACHINE on JANUARY 17, 2020.
On WAYBACK MACHINE, Hummel is moving forward by looking backwards and he’s picked a sweet spot in Blues history to explore, the glorious Bluebird Records sound of the 1930s and '40s. Joining Mark Hummel on the album is Chicago first call guitarist BILLY FLYNN, the Red Hot West Coast Combo THE DEEP BASEMENT SHAKERS, and Mississippi Bluesmaster JOE BEARD. The 16 Dynamic tracks on this CD were recorded by CHRIS KID ANDERSEN at Greaseland Studios in San Jose, CA.
Grammy-nominted Harmonica man/singer/songwriter/bandleader/author/impresario MARK HUMMEL was born in New Haven, CT but moved to Los Angeles as a newborn. Hummel took up an interest in blues harp & rock-blues music in high school but soon discovered the originators like Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson & Little Walter. Soon after, Hummel frequented the Ash Grove club on Melrose Ave. in LA where he saw (in a three month period) three blues legends he would later work with on a regular basis; Charlie Musselwhite, Brownie McGhee (w/Sonny Terry) & James Cotton. By 1985 Mark Hummel's Blues Survivors hit the road full time & continue till the present (Hummel's memoir, "Big Road Blues: 12 Bars on I-80" recounts many road exploits). Hummel's been featured on over thirty recordings since 1985 including his 2014 Blind Pig Records, Remembering Little Walter (a recording of a Hummel Blues Harp Blowout.) The CD was nominated for a Grammy Award and won two BluesMusicAwards. Hummel's most recent release, Harpbreaker (September 2018/Electro-Fi), is an all-instrumental harmonica albumthat redefines the scope and beauty of what the instrument is capable of in the righthands.
A new collaboration is taking place between Mark Hummel & the Deep Basement Shakers, as the two entities have locked forces to commit themselves to rockin' away the pre-war blues & boogie-woogie styles in this piano, acoustic harmonica/vocal & washboard trio. Specializing in primal, joint-rockin' barrelhouse blues n' boogie, the Deep Basement Shakers are an East Bay trio with a stripped down but powerful sound, featuring local traditional American music specialist Aaron Hammerman on piano and guitar, and local percussion legend Dave Eagle (the Right Time, Rusty Zinn, Zamico) on washboard, spoons, suitcase, train whistles, animal calls, etc.
Known for their floor-stomping appearances around the Bay and beyond, the Shakers bring to life good-time, steady-rollin' grooves from the deep musical traditions of days of old!
| February 26 - Aaron Moreno & Friends (Sacramento, California) - $12/$10 w/SBS card
First Time at The Starlet Room!! Sacramento Blues Society Hall of Fame member Aaron Moreno in a rare performance!
A true product of the Sacramento blues scene, guitarist Aaron (King) Moreno has been an ambassador for Sacramento blues around the world showcasing a style that owes as much to jazz guitarists like Herb Ellis and country guitarists like Hank Garland as it does to blues guitarists like Albert King and Albert Collins. Born and raised in Sacramento, Moreno got his first lessons in blues from Sacramento Blues Hall of Famer Johnny “Guitar” Knox. He continued his blues guitar education under the mentorship of another Sacramento Blues Hall of Famer, Little Charlie Baty, developing a style that would combine blues, jazz, and country guitar. From there he spent his formative years playing guitar for and recording with the late, great pianist Omar Shariff.
Playing with renowned Sacramento jump blues band The Chrome Addicts, Moreno went on to win several Sacramento Area Music Awards (Sammies) including a Critic’s Choice Award for Outstanding Guitarist. After several national and international tours with the Chrome Addicts, he left the band to start his own group, Aaron King and the Imperials. In addition to playing with the Imperials he also toured with world-renowned boogie-woogie pianist Mitch Woods playing such prestigious festivals as the Montreal Jazz Festival and Umbria Jazz Festival.
In recent years, King has broadened his musical horizons through his association with highly respected Sacramento jazz bassist Harley White, Jr., blurring the lines between blues, jazz, funk, and even hip-hop in an effort to continue pushing the music forward in ways his predecessors did decades earlier with the electrification of blues- a radical notion at the time.
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| March 4 - Pistofferson Brothers (Sacramento) - $10
Rockabilly, Outlaw Country & Peyote Country-influenced Rock with a
dark element starring singer Chris Harrelson, Greg
Roberts(bass,vocals) and Steve Randall (guitar). With the Burnette
Brothers, Elvis and Waylon as spirit guides, The Pistoffersons go
where brave men fear to tread.
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| March 11 - Colin James (Vancouver, BC, Canada) - $25/$18 w/SBS card
Winner: 2019 Juno Awards “Best Blues Album"- MILES TO GO
With his 19th studio album, Miles to Go, Colin James is getting back to the blues.
Wait a minute, you ask: hasn’t Colin James always played the blues? Well, yes, but back when he was signed to his first record deal in 1988, his producer—who’d worked with Ray Charles and Derek and the Dominoes—explicitly told him not to play any blues, because the label expected a pop hit. When James later made one of the biggest albums of his career—1993’s Colin James and the Little Big Band, released years before the so-called “swing revival”—his label hated it, as did critics and many fans before it went on to go triple platinum in Canada. Then there was the acoustic blues album National Steel in 1997, made with Colin Linden, which was the first time James made a full-on blues album, which landed him on folk festival bills alongside the likes of John Prine and John Hiatt. It was an explicit embrace of the blues James had loved since the Regina-born guitarist was 16 years old and was blown away by James Cotton at the Winnipeg Folk Festival. A song that Cotton played that night, “One More Mile,” became the title track to the new album: bookending it in electric and acoustic versions.
It wasn’t until 2016’s Blue Highways that James found himself on a blues chart: the album spent 10 weeks at No. 1 on the Roots Music Report’s Blues Chart. It also landed him one of his biggest hits: “Riding in the Moonlight,” a Willie Dixon song that James once covered when busking in the streets and subways of Toronto and Montreal, landed on a Spotify playlist and garnered millions of streams.
When James set out to make Blue Highways, an album of blues covers recorded with his touring band, he always intended it to be the first of two installments. Now we have Miles to Go, in which James records nine new covers of his favourite artists (Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Blind Willie Johnson, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Little Willie John, Robert Johnson, etc.) and adds two originals, “I Will Remain” and “40 Light Years.” “Blues has always been a pass-it-forward kind of thing,” says James. “It’s also surprisingly hard to write. You have to be careful how modern you get in your phrasing. Certain writers can write a song that sounds like it was done 40 years ago, but it’s deceptively hard.”
To be a blues musician is to always have a dialogue with the past. As with much blues music, it’s the performances on the original versions rather than the actual song that drew James to them. That said, what could he possibly bring to them in 2018? “You bring what you can,” he says. “If I feel like I’ve brought enough, then I put it out. I knocked a bunch of songs off this record when I realized that I can’t bring anything to them that isn’t there already. All my life I’ve tried to bring vitality to older songs. Hopefully my dedication to it is what floats it over the mark. That’s a subjective thing; some people will always prefer the original. However, there’s always a group of people coming up to see me after a show who might say, “Oh, I never would have heard ‘One More Mile’ by James Cotton—nothing in my life would have pointed me there.”
So much of Colin James’s career has pointed him to this moment: joyfully tangled up in the blues, which, as he notes, “is the only genre where you can maintain a young profile at the age of 53.”
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| March 18 - Elvis Cantú (Austin, TX/Grass Valley, CA) - $10
"Wild Recording artist Elvis Cantú hails from the wild n' crazy state of Texas, and has a very unique and wild sound to his original music. Mix a bit of Rockabilly with some western swing, then mix in a bit of jazz (the good jazz), infuse it with some rock n' roll and a bit of country and swamp rock, and then you're gonna be close to his wild n' crazy sound." -Reb Kennedy, Feb 2018
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|March 25 - Val Starr & The Blues Rocket (Sacramento) - $10
On January 2nd, 2020...Val Starr & The Blues Rocket released their 5th all original blues!
Lighter Side Of The Blues, the new album from Val Starr taps into a melting pot of influences from across the musical spectrum to create her unique brand of California Blues. "It's a mindset as opposed to a style," she comments. "I really try to capture the joy that the blues instills in the hearts of those who love it." As with all four of her previous releases, Val is backed once again by a legit all-star band of west coast blues vets (dubbed The Blues Rocket by Starr because they send her songs into the stratosphere). Lighter Side offers up a baker's dozen of original tracks that echo everything from traditional blues to '60s girl group pop to guitar-driven rock and roll. But no matter what the tempo or the direction the songs take, every track has an undeniable groove that radiates with positive energy. “It doesn’t have to be heavy to be the blues.” Welcome to the Lighter Side Of The Blues.
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| April 1 - Todd Morgan (Sacramento)- $10
"A true entertainer", "The real deal", on Sweet Pretender -"Solid from front to back" ~ Jonathan Carraba, Submerge Magazine
Todd Morgan has been fronting his band, "Todd Morgan & the Emblems", and performing solo shows for more than 10 years in the Sacramento area and throughout California and Nevada. He has toured the southern portion of the U.S. as a solo artist and traveled into Canada and the northern United States as well. Todd’s wizardry on the piano, his amazing guitar playing, his mastery of the drums, not to mention his ability to write and arrange music, together with his fabulous vocals make him more than a triple threat. In addition to all this, his on-stage charisma and dancing ability have delighted audiences of all ages. He continues to tantalize and impress audiences as he comes up with new ways to satisfy their entertainment desires with his own brand of Pop, Rock, Soul, early Rock 'n' Roll, Blues, Funk, Country, and even Jazz and Swing.
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| April 8 - Devine's Jug Band & Free Badge Serenaders (San Francisco/Sacramento, CA) - $15/$12 w/SBS card
A "Blues & Bourbon" first! Two bands, no waiting! Devine’s Jug Band, is a San Francisco ensemble wise to the ways of the weird old South.
Playing jug band blues, Hokum, old-style string band music - Devine's Jug band consists of Meredith Axelrod on guitar & vocals, Morgan Cochneuer on Mandolin, Banjo-mando & fiddle, and Pete Devine(HowellDevine) blowing that old whisky porcelain jug for the bass - as well as percussion and vocals!
Devine's Jug Band IS "America's most authentic sounding jug band"...say's legendary radio personality Mal Sharpe of KCSM Radio.
The Freebadge Serenaders are "irreverent jug jazz", "purveyors of discount Jazz. starring Greg Sabin - Banjo, Resonator Tenor Guitar, Vocals, Kazoo, Lead Trumpet. Patrick Skiffington - Washboard, Kazoo, Slide-Whistle, Vocals, Trompet and Zachary Proteau on tuba!
This is a rare show for Sacramento - so please don't miss this very special event!
Devine Jug Band:
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| April 15 - Mitch Woods & His Rocket 88s (Brooklyn/SoCal) - $15/12 w/SBS card
"While most current artists who do New Orleans music focus on either Meters-style funk or modern brass-band sounds, Woods is one of the very few who take it back to the 1950s. Through the power of his vocal and keyboard delivery and his employment of world-class musicians from the city itself, he succeeds brilliantly in keeping the tradition burning brightly." -Lee Hildebrand, Living Blues Magazine
"Mitch Woods has so strong an intuitive feel for blues and boogie piano that he can record with a pack of special guests without losing his way or being overshadowed." -Frank-John Hadley, Downbeat
Mitch Woods and His Rocket 88s have been the torchbearers of a great American blues musical heritage, not for three years but three decades. Taking their inspiration from the great jump n’ boogie outfits of the late 40s and early 50s, they breathe fresh life into the music that gave birth to rock n’roll. Woods styled his group after the jumpin’ n’ jivin’, shoutin’ n’ honkin’, pumpin’ n’ poundin’ bands of Louis Jordan, Wynonie Harris, Joe and Jimmy Liggins, Amos Milburn, and Roy Milton. Adding a healthy dose of New Orleans rhythm and blues, piledrivin’ piano, and some of his own contemporary playful lyrics, Woods and His Rocket 88s forge their own brand of music they call “rock-a-boogie.”
"Dubbing his swinging approach "rock-a-boogie," pianist Mitch Woods & His Rocket 88's have revived the jump blues approach of the '40s and '50s. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Mitch Woods moved to San Francisco in 1970. While he was growing up in Brooklyn, he studied both jazz and classical music, but when he relocated to the Bay Area, he primarily played jump blues and R&B. San Francisco guitarist Hi Tide Harris introduced Woods to the joyous jive of Louis Jordan, and the pianist's musical tastes were transformed. Between 1970 and 1980, Woods performed as a solo artist, gigging at a number of local clubs. In 1980, he formed the Rocket 88's, featuring Harris on guitar, and four years later, the band released its debut album, Steady Date, on Blind Pig. The album led to concerts at national blues clubs and festivals, as well as several European dates in 1987. In 1988, Woods & His Rocket 88's released their second album, Mr. Boogie's Back in Town, and embarked on another round of shows in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Three years later, their third album, Solid Gold Cadillac, appeared. Woods & His Rocket 88's continued to tour and perform in the '90s, releasing their fourth album, Shakin' the Shack, in 1993. Jump for Joy was issued in early 2001.
After a five-year recording layoff, Woods returned with the 2006 album Big Easy Boogie, which was recorded with a crew of musicians from New Orleans schooled in the city's trademark style. Arriving in 2008, Jukebox Drive was recorded during a tour of Europe, with the pianist backed by the Spanish swing band the Lazy Jumpers. Released in 2010, Gumbo Blues was another album in the New Orleans style, with Woods performing a set of tunes written by blues legend Smiley Lewis. A concert tour of Turkey by Woods and his band was preserved on the 2012 live album Blues Beyond Borders: Live in Istanbul.
“I was deeply impressed with the warmth and hospitality of the people and their openness and enthusiasm for the American musical form we call “the Blues”. It made me realize that we are musical ambassadors-able to cross cultural, religious, and national borders that most people cannot. In this CD and DVD I document our tour of the Republic of Turkey, a secular nation with 99% Muslim population that straddles the border of east and west, geographically and culturally. On this journey I realized in my heart and soul that music truly crosses all boundaries and Blues is certainly beyond borders.”
Issued in 2015, Jammin' on the High Cs was another live disc, this time recorded while Woods was performing as part of the seagoing blues festival the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise. Friends Along the Way, released in 2017, collected recordings of Woods performing with a variety of noted blues artists, including Van Morrison, Taj Mahal, John Lee Hooker, Charlie Musselwhite, Elvin Bishop, and James Cotton. His newest release is 2019's A Tip of the Hat to Fats is his rollickin' tribute to one of his heroes, Fat Domino, and was recorded live at the 2018 Jazz & Heritage Festival in New Orleans.
Mitch Woods with Van Morrison and Taj Mahal:
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| April 22 - Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience (Mallet, Louisiana) - $24/20 w/SBS card
“SIMIEN IS A ZYDECO MASTER: HIS VOICE YEARNING LIKE SAM COOKE, HE DELIVERS SOUL WORTHY OF STAX GREATS AND SHOWS CROSSOVER CLASS.” -ROLLING STONE
For 36+ years, two- time GRAMMY award winning Zydeco & soul star Terrance Simien, 8th generation Louisiana Creole has been shattering the myths about what his indigenous Zydeco roots music is – and is not. Leading his Zydeco Experience bandmates – long time member Danny Williams, Stan Chambers, Curtis Watson, Lance Ellis and Kevin Menard – Simien has become one of the most respected and accomplished artists in American roots music today. He and his band mates have performed over 8500 concerts, toured millions of miles to over 45 countries during their eventful career.
You may know Terrance from his work with Paul Simon in his legendary album, GRACELAND... or from his appearance and performing in the movie "THE BIG EASY" (Dennis Quaid /Ellen Barkin).2020 will mark Simien’s 35rd consecutive New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival – the gold standard for diversity in American roots music.
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April 29 - Lisa Phenix Band (Sacramento) - $10
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