We’re jazzed as usual about the Blues Music Awards on Thursday, May 8, and we’re looking forward in particular to our Yellow Dog Records showcase, which takes place Thursday afternoon, prior to the big awards ceremony that night, and features three artists who have been on quite a roll lately. First, at 12:45 p.m., our always-in-demand, deep-blues dynamo Colin Linden — who recently toured as Bob Dylan’s guitarist and wrapped his second season on ABC’s Nashville — steps up to the mic, ready to rivet the crowd with his world-renowned guitar mastery.

Then, at 1:45 p.m., Cassie Taylor — just a few weeks removed from her month-plus European tour — brings her blues-soul power to the stage, playing songs from her latest album Out of My Mind and more.

At 2:45, the piano lid gets lifted as Eden Brent closes our showcase with songs from her brand-new Yellow Dog Records release Jigsaw Heart (out May 6). Eden is touring a ton surrounding the arrival of her fantastic new album, so she will be at the peak of her formidable powers as she takes the stage.

It all goes down at BB King’s at 143 Beale Street. This is free and open to the public, so come join us as we bask in these soul-satisfying sounds!

Asylum Street Spankers Wake Up in the Morning and Find a Butt-Load of Wonderful New Asylum Street Spankers Recordings.  Do Any of You Have Any Idea Where These Came From?

If you know the story of the Asylum Street Spankers, you probably know that the group was founded in 1994 at a booze-filled party at the Dabbs Hotel along the river in Llano, Texas, and for the next seventeen years left a swath of astounded audiences in its wake. Well, it appears that America’s favorite old-time hellraisers have once again musically triumphed over overindulgence and memory loss. Or have they?

Christina Marrs, Nevada Newman, Charlie King and the other Spankers do recall getting together to play their final shows ever in April of 2011. They all remember setting up the three-day “The Last Laugh” finale in their hometown of Austin, Texas at the Cactus Café, Ruta Maya and Spider House Ballroom. But, honestly, that’s the last thing any of them remember.

Look: it’s embarrassing for such an acclaimed band as this to have to admit that they honestly don’t remember where their final album came from. What becomes clear upon listening to these recordings is that none of these songs has ever been recorded by the Asylum Street Spankers before. What’s even clearer is this: the band is in their finest form ever here, living up to their firmly cemented reputation as an acoustic powerhouse. Who else can blend string-band virtuosity, multi-instrumental skills, tight vocal harmonies and counterculture wit like this?

Clearly, these were unforgettable nights for all those who packed the clubs and cheered on their internationally beloved hometown heroes. Hazily, the Spankers figure these must have been some of the most treasured personal moments of their 17-year career. Imagine the satisfaction of taking their fans through one last journey together, from the Tin Pan Alley and vaudeville echoes of their sound, to the country, blues, jazz and swing songs they’ve borrowed and created, all filtered through the punk-rock ethos at their core. “It must have really been something,” Christina muses.

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Each year, artists and labels everywhere (in a wide range of genres) anxiously await the posting of the IMA nominees. Here at Yellow Dog Records, we’ve learned to feel good about our chances, as we’ve now seen our artists nominated in seven straight years.

In the 2014 R&B category, The Soul of John Black (whose album Good Thang netted an IMA in 2012) has been nominated for Soul Album (A Sunshine State of Mind) and Soul Song (Higher Power). And our piano-drums powerhouse The Claudettes has been nominated for Instrumental Album (Infernal Piano Plot…HATCHED!) and Long Form Music Video (The Claudettes: Live in the Studio). Well done, boys.

The general public is invited to vote in each of these categories for the IMA’s “Vox Populi” award. Visit the links below to check out these songs, albums and videos…and vote!


Cassie Taylor - European tour 2014She’s only in her mid-20s, but Cassie Taylor is already a bona-fide road dog, having been in planes, trains and automobiles with her father Otis Taylor since her teen years. The soulful vocals and rock-solid bass skills she brought to her dad’s shows are now front and center as Cassie embarks on a sizable swing through Europe that will find her belting out her songs all across Germany and in Austria, Denmark, Luxembourg and Switzerland.

It all starts today at Das Bett in Frankfurt and winds down at Bluesiana in Velden, Austria on April 11. That, right there, is a tour, folks. Cassie is NOT messing around, on her latest album Out of My Mind (available on CD or white vinyl) or on her 44-day European tour that begins today!

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logo_bluesmobileWho loves the blues more deeply, more enduringly, more outwardly than Elwood Blues — a.k.a. Dan Aykroyd?  Mr. Aykroyd has been “on a mission from God” to spread the word about his favorite records for many a decade… most recently with his award-winning BluesMobile Radio Hour.

Each week, Aykroyd picks his favorite song — his Blues Breaker of the week — and shines a bright light on it; this week, his spotlight is squarely on The Claudettes and their killer cut “Tide Pool” from their Yellow Dog Records debut Infernal Piano Plot…HATCHED! .

Read what Mr. Aykroyd had to say about the band (and their too-bizarre-not-to-be-true back story) right here and listen to his introduction and the track itself right in the player below.  Thanks for the shout-out, Elwood!

bluesandmusicnews_logoJohnny Iguana has been playing piano at Buddy Guy’s Legends since his days in the Junior Wells Blues Band. He’s been on stage there with Buddy himself countless times and with a host of other Chicago blues royals, too.

And so Johnny was taken aback when some of the staff at Buddy’s reacted with, shall we say, bemusement when Johnny brought his Claudettes to Buddy’s legendary stage on Friday the 13th of September of last year. The band’s unorthodox stage show ruffled certain feathers at Legends that night — but now, the official Buddy Guy word on the Claudettes’ music is out… and the word is good.

Check out this positively glowing review of the Claudettes’ Yellow Dog debut Infernal Piano Plot…HATCHED! in Buddy’s own music-news magazine, BG. This piece not only raves about the record, but also places it within the continuum of the constantly evolving sound of Chicago blues. Right back ‘atcha, BG!

In 1989, a new literary magazine was born in Oxford, Mississippi, celebrating the history and evolution of writing in the South.  In the years since, this treasured publication has expanded into exploration of all things Southern — including, to the joy of so many readers (and listeners), Southern music.

This time of year, anticipation runs high… mailboxes are checked frequently… and then, it’s here: the annual Oxford American Southern Music issue — which includes 2 CDs and which, this year, we’re thrilled to announce includes tracks from two Yellow Dog Records releases.  Tennessee is the target state this time, and, along with stars by the name of Elvis, Emmylou, Johnny Cash and Al Green, you’ll hear “Where Would I Go” by William Lee Ellis (from Conqueroo) and “Deuce and a Quarter” by the Bo-Keys (from The Royal Sessions) .  Check out the full track listing here!

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Fans of bluegrass, blues, country, Americana, Cajun music and other roots styles surely know about MerleFest. This great festival has been drawing music lovers by the tens of thousands to Wilkesboro, North Carolina for 27 years now — and we’re proud to say that the 2014 Merlefest has invited two members of the Yellow Dog Records family to perform!

Mary Flower and Fiona Boyes, two utterly unique and fantastic guitar stylists, will be at MerleFest this year along with Ralph Stanley, Alan Jackson, Merle Haggard, Old Crow Medicine Show… with over 130 acts scheduled between April 24 and 27, you’ll want to get in gear and get on down there! Say hi to Mary and Fiona for us…

Described as “powerful” (Blues Blast), “glowing” (Living Blues), “impressive” (Blues Bytes), “captivating” (Cascade Blues), “mesmerizing” (Premier Guitar), “groundbreaking” (About Blues), “slyly subversive” (The New Yorker), “sassy” (Billboard), and “soulful” (No Depression), critics all over the map have been raving about Cassie Taylor’s Out of My Mind.

Now just in time for Halloween… Cassie’s new video for the track “New Orleans” is equal parts spooky, campy, jazzy and bluesy.

Who is that there, in the iTunes blues page banner, right next to venerable Chicago bluesman Otis Rush?  It’s The Claudettes, featuring Chicago piano pounder Johnny Iguana — who has toured with Otis, by the way.

Look down in the first row beneath that banner to the New and Noteworthy grouping… and there are the Claudettes again!  It’s great to see iTunes trumpeting how special this new Yellow Dog release is, especially for those who dig blues piano and fresh, unique spins on the classic Chicago sound. The album’s already spawned features in publications like the Chicago Sun-Times and glowing reviews like this one.

Infernal Piano Plot…HATCHED! is still just a hatchling… stay tuned for more Claudettes news!

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