The Soul of John Black‘s “I Love It” rocks the soundtrack to this spot for a Swiss dairy product. Give us some of what that guy’s having!


And here’s the full track for for your listening pleasure:

Do you know Putumayo? You really should, and probably do. They’re a record label that rejoices over the many rivers of music that stream across the globe (you’ve likely seen their eye-catching CDs in a coffee shop or three). In addition to introducing recordings and artists from all over the world, Putumayo has donated more than a million dollars to help the worldwide communities from which that music arises.

Their new compilation transports listeners, wherever you are, to jazz cafés all around the globe via tracks by Lee Dorsey, Amanda Martinez, Rosa Passos, Lisa Bassenge and more. Joining artists from Brazil, Senegal, Cuba and beyond: Yellow Dog’s own Eden Brent, whose sultry “Love Me ’Til Dawn” (from her 2008 Yellow Dog release “Mississippi Number One” closes out Jazz Café.  Have yourself a cocktail and have yourself a listen!

In the middle of NO HOTEL, The Claudettes’ new album full of playfully raucous songs and instrumentals, comes a song born of personal tragedy but bathed in beauty and light.  “She’s So Imaginary” is a vibrant throwback to the sound of ’60s pop-soul. But the inspiration for the song lies in personal tragedies endured by members of The Claudettes, and is set in the aftermath of the heart-rending 2014 Korean ferry disaster.

The new video, which premieres today on Innocent Words, stars Claudettes singer Yana and seven-year-old Roman F. Berkowitz VI, whose evocative misuse of the English language gave the song its title.


Blues Music AwardsCongratulations to the Ragpicker String Band for their nomination in this year’s Blues Music Awards! The band has earned a nomination for Acoustic Album of the year.  This nomination was given for the debut album by the group, though the combined members of this “acoustic music dream team” (Rich DelGrosso, Mary Flower and Martin Grosswendt) have previously earned a whopping nine BMA nominations.

The Blues Music Awards (formerly known as the W.C. Handy Awards) are universally recognized as the highest honor given to Blues artists. And best of all, you can vote in the awards process! Visit The Blues Foundation to join, and then this link to vote once you are a member. Voting is open now through March 1.

The Blues Foundation will present the 37th Blues Music Awards on May 5th at the Cook Convention Center in downtown Memphis, TN. Stay tuned!

The Claudettes appear on the nationally syndicated WoodSongs Old Time Radio Hour this week, as part of a co-bill with the Wood Brothers. The Claudettes, whose piano-powered musical mayhem has been spotlighted on Dan Aykroyd’s Bluesmobile and the NPR-syndicated Sound Opinions and earned the band two Independent Music Awards, will play their songs and instrumentals live and chat with the host, folk singer Michael Johnathon.

The program airs on NPR stations nationwide in a timeslot scheduled by each local station. Check here to see when the show airs in your town this week! It’s also easy to listen online, or check out the archives if you miss the original broadcast.

Woodsongs – The Claudettes

The first single from The ClaudettesNO HOTEL, “Chez Les Yé-yé”, takes the Serge Gainsbourg classic back to its American Blues roots — think blues with a beret instead of a fedora. But behind Yana’s sultry vocals and Michael Caskey’s furious drumming (and deliberately asinine dancing), there is a disconsolate message — just as, behind the “tom toms” and “yeah yeahs” of Serge’s “Chez Les Yé-yé”, there lurks something sinister.

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Keeping the Blues AliveWe’re humbled to learn that we’ve been nominated for a 2016 Keeping the Blues Alive award.  This is The Blues Foundation‘s highest honor for “individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to blues music”.

Although the award is supposedly for the record label, we know that it’s really a recognition of the the incredible talents of the musicians who we’ve been privileged to work with.  We’re thrilled to accept this award on their behalf and look forward every day to more great music to come.

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Chicago and New Orleans piano blues get a shot in the arm and Tin Pan Alley gets the hot-rod treatment, while ’60s pop-soul and French Yé-yé make ravishing returns on the The Claudettes‘ second Yellow Dog Records album NO HOTEL.

Chicago piano crusher Johnny Iguana (who has pounded keys for Junior Wells, Buddy Guy and rock cult heroes oh my god) and absolute wacko Michael Caskey (who has drummed with giddy glee for everyone from Chuck Mangione to Balkan fusion band Eastern Blok) make even bigger waves with the bravura instrumentals on NO HOTEL than they did with their 2013 debut Infernal Piano Plot…HATCHED! (“Like Keith Moon chasing a crazed, punked-up Little Richard” —Blues Music Magazine).

Piano licks inspired by Otis Spann, Mose Allison, Ray Charles and Bobby Timmons meet Minutemen’s “jam econo” ethos and Meat Puppets’ trippy echo as the band packs 16 tracks into the sonic whirlwind that is NO HOTEL. And at the eye of the hurricane: a mid-album set of sultry vocal songs sung in English and French by the band’s mesmerizing new member, Yana.

Though just 24, Nigerian-American vocalist Yana recalls Josephine Baker and Eartha Kitt. An alluring singer/dancer on stage, decked out in stunning dresses, jewelry and head wraps, Yana brings her seductive powers to the studio here. She casts a spell with the throwback ’60s pop-soul (punctuated by a grinding blues-rock bridge) of She’s So Imaginary, then puts her own authoritative stamp on hand-picked ’60s French Yé-yé classics.

With NO HOTEL (named after the cruel phrase that appeared on the band’s most deflating venue contract offer yet), The Claudettes use drum sticks, piano hammers, style and swagger to strut from vintage landmarks to someplace new.

Mandolinist Rich DelGrosso, Guitarist Mary Flower and multi-instrumentalist Martin Grosswendt have earned steady streams of praise for their outstanding string skills. Combined, these three have earned nine Blues Music Award nominations and enjoyed rave press reviews and top festival slots all over the world. And they do strum, pick and bow up a storm on their debut album together as the Ragpicker String Band — but it’s their tight trio harmonies that especially dazzle. The acoustic dream team summons the spirits of everyone from the Mississippi Sheiks and Blind Boy Fuller to Jim Kweskin and R. Crumb as their voices and fingers fly through the mists back to the golden prewar age of folk-blues.

Classics by the likes of the Mississippi Sheiks, Sleepy John Estes and Blind Willie Johnson — combined with new originals by Flower and DelGrosso — allow this virtuosically fearsome threesome to leaven their serious instrumental and vocal chops with social satire and mischievous humor. Just as Kweskin and Crumb filtered the songs and sounds of their prewar folk-blues heroes through their own modern sensibilities and considerable personalities, so do the Ragpicker String Band. Jump from a fabulously fretted, sublimely sung trip to the past like Trimmed and Burning to a laughing lament of modern times like Google Blues and you’ll find out what an uncommonly fine stew of traditional and contemporary ingredients they’ve cooked up. They even season it with a delectable dose of jazz via a conspicuously piano-less romp through Thelonious Monk’s standard Blue Monk. Read the rest of this entry »

Coming to Memphis for the Blues Music Awards this week?  Please join us for a showcase of two exceptional nominees on Thursday afternoon, before the big Awards event later that evening.

Our friends from Fo’Reel will kick things off at 1:00pm with their funky mix of New Orleans Blues and R&B.  They’ll be featuring songs from their debut album Heavy Water, nominated for Best New Artist Album in this year’s awards.

At 2:00pm, our own “Little Boogaloo”, Eden Brent, will demonstrate why she’s been nominated eleven times for Blues Music Awards, this year for Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year and Acoustic Album of the Year.  Eden is always a crowd favorite and she’s looking forward to catching up with all her out-of-town friends.

It all goes down at BB King’s at 143 Beale Street.  It’s free and open to the public so please stop by, say hello, and enjoy the music!

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