We're finally home after 20 + hours in a van with three old crabby men we sent Craig north to his wife.
We came home to the news that we were selected Milwaukee's Best Blues Band by the readers of the Shepherd Express. All we can say is thank you very much
What an excellent tour of Florida. Full houses to sold out attendance in Alabama, Georgia and Florida thanks to Kris Raymond at Recordevents.com and Charlie Boyer at Jazz & Blues Florida. We met so many cool people and old friends. Gil Anthony, Todd Ekstrom, Miss Rita, Smokestack, Blue Stu, Wiz, and more. We had 20 days of 80 degree weather and sunshine too.
Our first show in at MacLeod's in Dothan Alabama was a full house thanks to Gil Anthony plugging the show on his radio show. We played the Red Wolf Juke Joint in Birmingham, Alabama next. Miss Rita welcomed us and sat it with us at the end of the night. Thanks to Todd Ekstrom for putting us up and the Magic City Blues Society for a first for me. We sold out the High Cotton Music Hall in Hartwell, Georgia and Smokestack sat in with us on harmonica to the delight of the crowd.
Our first show in Florida was at the Blue Rooster in Sarasota to a sold out SRO crowd that included over 60 Cheeseheads lol. Thanks to Charlie Offer and Mary for setting us up in St Petersburg and we look forward to working with them in the future. The Barrel Room in Fort Myers was another SRO crowd in a club run by our old buddy Kevin who used to book us at Buddy Guy's Legends and is also Frank Bang's brother. Sunday it was Earl's Hideaway in Sebastian where we played to a large crowd of bikers and blues fans. We got to see our buddy Peter Lauro from Music4Mary.com one of the best reference sites on the web.
Englewood's on Dearborn on Tuesday was also SRO of dancers. The owner Tony ("Are you fu*&ing kidding me?") took great care of us and provided much needed hangovers to some of the band lol. With a couple nights off I got a chance to hang out with Madison Slim for a day and on Thursday Andy, Craig and I went down to the Blue Rooster to see Slim play with one of the best bands working the scene right now. That's Doug Deming and the Jewel Tones. Their in France this week and will be touring the midwest this summer. Make sure you go see them. We all got a chance to sit in and had a natural ball.
The Little Bar was great and we got a chance to hang out with our friends Jim Kirschlanger and Charlie Boyer from Jazz & Blues Florida. Nikki opened her beautiful home to us and fed us like kings.
Our last show at Ace's Lounge in Bradenton was the icing on the cake and once again an SRO crowd. The owner Renee took great care of us and Slim, Mark Thompson and Doug Deming, Claudia, Andrew and Sam came down after their show at the Cortez Kitchen.
We're headed back in October for sure.
This weekend we head down to Indianapolis to play the Slippery Noodle Inn on Friday and Saturday. Looking forward to seeing our Hoosier friends after a one year hiatus. Please pass the word.
Buddy Guy's Legends on Friday March 3rd
We return to Buddy Guy's Legends, 700 S. Wabash Avenue, Chicago, Il. Hands down the premier blues club in the world (I'm slightly biased lol). Show begins at 9:30pm
Virgin Islands Tour 2017
Craig and I head to St Croix on March 6th to kidnap Gary Zappa on bass and tour the islands for three horrible grueling weeks. Come on down and join the fun.
Live at the Big Bull is still going strong. After winning two awards this year for "Best Live CD of the Year' from Blues Blast Magazine and The Independent BluesScene. We just received another great review from the Natchel' Blues Network of Virginia written by Brian "The Bluesman" Beachum. It's still a top seller at CDBaby.com and you can purchase it at CDBaby.com/reverendraven5 or at The Exclusive Company, 5026 S. 74th St. Greenfield, WI
Westside Andy's CD "Blues Just Happen" is also a top seller at CDBaby.com and features Billy Flynn and Barrel House Chuck (RIP) on piano. Living Blues Magazine called Chuck the greatest living blues pianist and it's true. You can purchase this cd at: CDBaby.com/westsideandy2. Come to a show and get both of these cds for a special price.
Thanks to everyone who have come out to our shows in record numbers this summer. It's humbling and a result of the good work of our promotions company, Recordevents.com, helmed by Kris Raymond getting the word out to our friends and the media. Here's what's up for the next few weeks. Look forward to seeing you.
Then we head to Plymouth, MN to play Higher Grounds - A Music Series from Mount Olivet presents BLUES ... August 6, 2016 at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church of Plymouth, Plymouth, MN. A great lineup includes, Cole Allen, Lisa Wenger and headliner's the Jimmy's. We go on a 6:15pm on the Main Stage. Go to: Higher Grounds Music Festival to see more information. Then we rush home to play The Wisconsin State Fair on Monday and Tuesday, August 8th and 9th at 6pm. We'll be on the Major Goolsby Stage. Monday night features Westside Andy on harmonica and on Tuesday it's Big Al Groth on saxophone. Pork Chop Moore will be with us on both evenings. Lot's of dancing, food and old friends.
Our three week road trip was excellent. We started at the House of Blues in Chicago, headed to the Slippery Noodle in Indianapolis to play to a packed house and then jumped down to Florida to play four shows at clubs that were packed with dancers waiting to see us.
Brian Lee sat in at The Blue Rooster and received a well deserved standing ovation. What a treat to hang with my old friend. He's coming up to Wisconsin this summer to celebrate his 60th year in the music business.
The Legendary Blues Cruise was a blast. Latimore, Elvin Bishop, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Ronnie Hicks, Mike Wheeler, Toronzo Cannon, Tommy Castro, Shinetop, Scottie Miller, Danielle Nicole, Tab Benoit, Mr Sipp, Eddie Cotton and so many more tore it up.
We had the honor of hosting the Pro - Jam the second night on the pool deck at midnight and you can see the result on our video page or go to: LRBC 26 and check it out. Big thanks to Jimmy Voegeli, Westside Andy, Bobby Sellers Jr, and PT Pedersen for laying it down all week long.
We have finally begun work on our 20th anniversary CD. The cd is a compilation of our original songs, remastered, mixed and sometimes re-imagined. With some special guests and former Chain Smoking Altar Boys. I was in the studio yesterday and finished up 3 songs with Bill Stace from Walls Have Ears Studio. You can help us fund it by going to http://www.gofundme.com/ReverendRaven20th.
Different perks for every funding level and an opportunity to be part of the band's history.