2017 Chicago Music Awards - w/Tomiko Dixon-Best Blues Entertainer
2016 Grammy Voting Member - Chicago Chapter
2011 American Blues News "Best Blues Album of the Year" for 3 Faces of the Blues.
2006 (WC Handy) Blues Music Award's “Best New Artist Debut” for The Blues According to Zacariah.
w/Zac Harmon and the Mid South Blues Revue.
2005 XM Radio Best New Blues Band Award
w/Zac Harmon and the Mid South Blues Revue.
2004 (IBC) International Blues Challenge Winner
w/Zac Harmon and the Mid South Blues Revue
The blues are the soul of American music, and Jeff Stone is one of those blues musicians who gives thanks to the legacy and the greats who came before them. Chicago is the blues capital of the world. Born and raised in the Jeffery Manor neighborhood near Lake Michigan. Jeff has many music awards, the most prestigious of which is the WC Handy Award from the Blues Foundation of the United States, with Blues great Zac Harmon.
The latest album he released with guitarist Jeff Dale from Chicago, 'The Southside Lives' was named by SoundGuardian of Croatia as one of the 50 best blues albums in the world in 2017.
Watch the whole show on btvplus.bg
And in this year 2017, at the very end of it, and after certain actions have been carried out and, above all, taking the reactions to you, the respected visitors to Blues Corner and also the Blues radio show list for you, I came to the top 50 blues releases 2017 . Of course, behind me is a little more than eight years of Blues broadcasting for you on the Križevci radio station. Behind me is over two hundred of this year's articles written on various albums and released on this music portal. Of course, these lyrics are mostly devoted to blues.
Not to mention the Grammy Awards and the Blues Music Awards, I bring you the top 50 best blues releases in 2017 of my choice, from number 50 to number 1:
The Southside Lives-JEFF DALE & JEFF STONE
Pro Sho Bidness (2017)
JEFF DALE & JEFF STONE The Southside Lives Pro Sho Bidness Records Jeff Dale & Jeff Stone Southside Lives CD By Robin Zimmerman
July 15, 2017
JEFF DALE & JEFF STONE
The Southside Lives
Pro Sho Bidness Records
Jeff Dale & Jeff Stone Southside Lives CD
By Robin Zimmerman
The “Great Migration” might have fueled the rise of electrified blues but the influx of Southern blacks into Chicago also highlighted the city’s abysmal record on race relations. Often known as the most segregated city in America, Chicago’s new citizens were relegated to substandard housing on the South and West sides.
When blacks did try to move to a better part of the city, unscrupulous realtors stoked the fears of Chicago’s white citizenry with strong-arm tactics and threats. This practice of “panic peddling” was at the root of rapidly changing demographics in many neighborhoods.
Such was the case with the Southeast Side neighborhood of Jeffery Manor. Up until the late Sixties, it was a tight-knit, primarily Jewish enclave. It was the sort of place where folks usually kept their doors unlocked—until the community was rocked by Richard Speck’s brutal murder of eight student nurses near Luella Elementary School in 1966.
While many of the students at Luella thought they’d be attending Bowen High School together, it was not meant to be. When the block busters barnstormed into Jeffery Manor, home owners sold quickly. They slipped quietly into the night and off to Skokie, the North Shore and other far-flung places.
This abrupt departure from close friends and familiar places left a deep hole in the soul and psyche of many kids from Jeffery Manor—and it might be one of the reasons why several former residents got into the blues. The roster ranges from local impresario Lynn Orman Weiss and award-winning harp player Jeff Stone to highly lauded songwriter and slide guitarist, Jeff Dale.
Now, Dale has given voice to this angst with his new release, The Southside Lives. The title track tells of his world changing the day his family moved. He goes on with, “I was jumped by circumstances and I’m still learning to forgive.” But, in a nod to the power of his early adolescent connections, he sings “You can take the boy out of the Southside, but inside the Southside lives.”
Dale is not alone in paying homage to his old ‘hood. He has enlisted childhood pal and harmonica virtuoso, Jeff Stone to accompany him. Dale said that The Southside Lives is a CD that he could have only made with Stone and this is apparent from the get-go. With Stone’s mournful harp backing up Dale’s tale of adolescent upheaval, it’s obvious that these two are on same musical page -- with many of the same childhood memories.
The Southside Lives, which Dale produced, also serves as a touching tribute to Dale’s mentor and friend, David “Honeyboy” Edwards. Dale credits Edwards with rekindling his dedication to the blues after a long hiatus.
Since Edwards’ passing in 2011, Dale has been vigilant about keeping his memory alive. He recently produced a film, plus a DVD and CD, entitled, David “Honeyboy” Edwards, I’m Gonna Tell You Somethin’ That I Know: Live at the G Spot, which captured Edwards’ last live performance in Southern California, along with detailed memories of the night Robert Johnson died, tales of Charlie Patton and other intriguing stories.
The opening track on The Southside Lives is a synopsis of Edwards’ colorful life as an itinerant traveler and blues trailblazer. On “Honeyboy’s Story,” Dale demonstrates a deft touch at turning a phrase as he charmingly sums up everything from Honeyboy’s brushes with the law to his move to “sweet home Chicago.”
Dale picked up more than interesting anecdotes during his time with Honeyboy Edwards; “Honeyboy’s Story” also highlights Dale’s mastery of old-school Delta blues. With fellow Southsider Stone blowing some sweet syncopated harp, it’s apparent that these Jeffery Manor guys have been hanging out with blues players from all sides of town—and every part of the country, too!
The nice interplay between Dale and Stone continues in a humorous way with “Rooster.” Here, Dale contemplates “making rooster stew” after bellyaching about a bird waking him up at 4 a.m. -- in Chicago, no less. Stone, who recently moved back to the Windy City, showcases the harmonica chops that garnered a WC Handy Award during his tenure with the Zac Harmon Band.
After battling the urban rooster, it’s back to a Delta groove in both “Hooked Up to a Plow” and “The Old Blues Hotel.” Dale, who composed all the songs on the CD, continues to come up with clever lyrical twists punctuated by his signature, spoken-word style delivery. Wendysue Rosloff turns in some nice drum work on this and several other tracks.
While the “white flight” that took place in the late-Sixties might have caused some to harbor negative racial attitudes, Dale has taken the high road on his long journey from Jeffery Manor. In “The Dream,” he sings about “freedom and justice is the cure for my headache,” but “just needs to see them when I am awake.”
Whether it’s completely anecdotal or not, Dale delves into the universal themes of how lost loves, job loss and other factors can weigh on a person’s psyche in “The First Time I Met the Blues.” He shifts his tone on “The Bus Broke Down” and shows how a simple thing like an old broken down vehicle can be one’s ticket to misery.
“Tight Ass Mama,” follows a similar path as Dale wails about his lady unwilling to loan him money for fear that he might leave her. While “tight” might be the theme of this tune, the guitar and harp work on this track is extremely fluid and very satisfying. Pat Ciliberto plays a strong bass on this track and many others.
Dale doesn’t shy away from tackling extremely sensitive subjects either. On “Mud on My Shoes,” he strikes a chord with anyone who has lost a parent and leaves the cemetery knowing that “their rock has gone.”
The Southside Lives was funded via a Kickstarter program where Dale promised patrons “a new batch of my original tunes in a back-porch blues style.” While he and Stone might have traveled separate musical paths, it’s very gratifying to hear them come full circle and renew a blues connection that stretches back to third grade. On The Southside Lives, Jeff Dale offers a master class in the art of infusing bare bones blues with modern-day lyrics.
For info or to buy the CD, visit: www.jeffdaleblues.com or
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Jeff Stone and I grew up on the southeast side of Chicago. He and I became fast friends in the third grade. I’m guessing that would have made us 7 or 8 years old. Time and circumstances kept Jeff and me on separate musical paths but our friendship knew no such bounds. We talked about making a record together forever. "The Southside Lives” is the record I had to make with Jeff Stone – the record that I knew Jeff would dig deep into because he would know where every word I sang came from. And I knew that together, he and I would bring it all back home and make the Southside live. - Jeff Dale
Music, mainly the blues, was our saving grace, listening and learning as we struggled to make sense of everything. Life took my brother Jeff Dale and I down different roads, but the music we played from deep inside our souls; was always at the forefront of our unbreakable ties. When my brother began playing and recording again, we reconnected musically. When Jeff suggested we do this project together, it was a natural. Jeff is absolutely correct....no one knows the depth of the music and words that he composes more than I...we lived it together... This project is a lifetime in the making... – Jeff Stone
"Their playing is reverent, and strikes a deep personal chord. The latest set from Jeff Dale and Jeff Stone proves one thing – no matter where life’s highway leads, “you can take the boy out of the South Side, but inside, “The Southside Lives!” " – Nashville Blues Society
"A back porch take on urban blues, they might not have picked no cotton or had hell hounds on their tails but these guys give a better lesson in the blues than some far removed pedant professor could. It’s as authentic as it gets and I smell some Handy recognition in the wind. Killer stuff, particularly for contemporary ears." – Midwest Record
With its well-manicured lawns and opulent homes, the bucolic town of Barrington isn’t widely known as a hot bed of blues music. But, on Saturday, November 19th, the Penny Road Pub hosted a bona-fide blues blowout.
For those who came from the city and suburbs, the trek to this collar-county watering hole was well worth it. South Side blues was on the bill with Charlie Love, Jeff Stone and Tomiko Dixon delivering big time. In addition to these talented artists, the show also boasted special appearances by Demetria Taylor and Maurice John Vaughn.
Early birds at Penny Road caught the proverbial earworm in the form of a hard rock/metal power trio named Lyden Moon that came on first. This Kenosha, Wisconsin band backed up their “up to 11” logo by offering patrons unlimited access to a large jar of orange ear plugs!
But, cranked up rock soon made way for some silky smooth blues, which just happens to be the name of Charlie Love’s longtime band. This tight group is comprised of Doug Tramble and Detroit James on guitar with Mark Mack on drums. Bassist Kenny Pickett, who filled in for Andre Howard, joined them. In one of those musical twists of good fortune, Maurice John Vaughn drove Pickett to the gig.
Before Vaughn came on, Love, Stone and Dixon were firmly in the driver’s seat. These powerful performers put on a show that should definitely keep them on the blues map. In fact, there were attendees in the house from musically rich New Orleans who left Penny Road raving about what they’d seen and heard.
Blues lovers will be glad to learn that Love and Stone are no longer separated by geography. After many years living in Texas, Stone is moving back to his native Chicago. This should make harp lovers happy, as Stone is truly one of the best—as evidenced by his electrifying live performances as well as his 2004 WC Handy Award.
During the course of his career, Stone has played with the likes of Reverend KM Williams and Zac Harmon to Jeff Dale and Andrew “Junior Boy” Jones. Whether he’s going the juke joint route or serving up impassioned gospel, Stone is one of those rare harp players who helps raise any collaboration to the next level.
Love has also racked up some impressive stats. A winner of the 2014 Chicago Blues Challenge, he shows no signs of resting on his laurels. This personable performer kept the crowd entertained with everything from fancy footwork to finely honed guitar solos throughout the course of the evening.
Love and Stone have been performing together since the early nineties and their long-term musical rapport was apparent from the get-go. They started the show off with an up-tempo “Hard Times” before segueing into Jimmy Reed’s ”Bright Lights, Big City.”
It’s not a stretch to say that Love is one of those performers who easily connects with his audience, as anecdotes and on-stage banter are hallmarks of his performances. He urged the crowd to “get up and let it go.” One fan even let go of a two-dollar bill following Love’s remark about making a wager with the guitar player. Soon afterwards, she delivered the dough to Doug.
All bets were off when Love broke into his version of B.B. King’s “The Thrill is Gone,” which saw him ad-libbing the last few verses. Love said it’s not uncommon for him to “perform a song the way it was recorded and then improvise the final few lines.”
Whether it was improvisation or simply divine musical intervention, the dual harp interplay between Love and Stone on his “Boogie Blues in G” was one that was worth the price of admission and then some. Love’s longtime blues background began at an early age, with his harmonica-playing father playing music in the family’s living room.
As the granddaughter of blues legend Willie Dixon, Tomiko Dixon has the style and stage presence to go along with her impressive blues pedigree. Towards the end of the first set, this powerful songstress strutted on stage and quickly wowed the crowd. Just 36 years old, Dixon was recently inducted into the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame and became the youngest person on its illustrious roster.
Billing herself as the “Granddaughter of the Blues,” Dixon belted out many of her grandfather’s standards that had the crowd clamoring for more. This blossoming blues diva also had both professional photographers and I-Phone owners jockeying for position to catch the perfect action shot.
Dixon certainly came out firing on all cylinders as she made many of her grandfather’s standards her own. From her fiery opener of “Hoochie Coochie Man” and straight through “I’m Ready” and “Little Red Rooster,” Dixon proved to the Penny Road audience that the genre is in good hands with this new generation of blues artists.
After Dixon stepped off the stage, it was time for special guest stars Demetria Taylor and Maurice John Vaughn to shine. Taylor, the daughter of blues/R & B legend, Eddie Taylor Senior, jumped into a sassy song called “Miss May’s Juke Joint.” Delmark recording artist Vaughn came on with a humorously, off-color version of his 1986 “Garbage Man Blues,” which appeared on the aptly titled, independently produced “Generic Blues Album.”
Following these impromptu performances, it was back to a sizzling second set for Charlie Love and company. One of the night’s finest moments came about whe they subtly accompanied Dixon on her grandfather’s “It Don’t Make Sense (You Can’t Make Peace).”
Although Willie Dixon wrote more than 500 blues classics, he has said that “It Don’t Make Sense” was his favorite composition. His granddaughter delivered each line with feeling and intensity. The powerful lyrics about a divided world seemed to strike a chord with many attendees as Dixon’s words ring just as true today as they did when he penned the tune in 1984.
After digging into this Willie Dixon deep cut, it was back to being a blues party band. For the music lovers in attendance, the night ended much too quickly. But, on a bright note, there are rumblings that Penny Road Pub might be featuring more blues shows in the future. If this performance were any indication, it would behoove all of you to set that GPS in order to catch a show at this landmark bar in Barrington.
Robin Zimmerman for Chicago Blues Guide