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Carvin Jones Review


Authored by Al Dollar 

 From Phoenix, Carvin Jones, known as the “King of Strings” calls himself the hardest working bluesman in show business. He backs up that claim with an average of 330 shows a year.  In addition to appearances across the USA, he has performed in 37 countries on 3 continents.  He has shared the stage and toured with legends, including Jeff Beck, Albert King, Buddy Miles, Albert Collins, The Animals ,REO Speedwagon, Jimmy Vaughn, Joe Cocker, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, among others. 

     For the second year in a row, he came to small, but fabulous, Prescott Arizona to perform at the Elks Theater.  Last years show was over the top and the one Saturday night reminded everyone why we come back!  Himself, an incredible base player, and drummer, put out such a dynamic sound, you can’t believe you are listening to a 3-piece band.  I have never heard solos on a base guitar like the ones I heard at the Elks last Saturday. 

    Carvin is very good at self-promotion and knows how to energize the crowd and get fans on their feet and on the dance floor. He had all of us up rockin”.  The talent he displays with the powerful and diverse sounds from his guitar is unparalleled.  From BB King Blues style to the rocking Jimmy Hendricks blues and much more in between, he puts on a fascinating performance!  Carvin Jones is a must see and hear the next time he comes to Prescott!

Blues - By Land or by Sea

By Mike Todhunter 

  Blues inquirers frequently ask me if I would recommend blue cruises and the answer does not lend itself to a sound bite or an easy answer without some elaboration. There are so many options for blues fans in their quest to embrace good blues music that a close personal assessment of wants and needs balanced along with one's financial position and wherewithal is necessary in determining whether a cruise, a festival, or just patronizing good local blues talent is your best choice. 

     Personally, it's difficult to distance your present value system from the messaging and echoes of my youthful past. I can still hear my Victorian grandmother quoting "Poor Richard's Almanac" with pearls of Puritan ethos about frugality and thrift. She would remind us, “Waste not, want not.” , and "A penny saved is a penny earned." It's easy to get the message, reinforced by my military father adding, "If you want something, work hard because money doesn't grow on trees." From this ancestral scripting, I've determined that all leisure expenditures must be weighed by measuring their value in financial and aesthetic terms. How much utility does this choice afford me in comparison to my other options (opportunity cost)? In short, what gives me the most bang for my buck? 

     Besides blues cruises there are many outstanding festivals within driving distance of Prescott and our clubs abound with quality bluesmen that can give us an equal measure of pleasure without emptying our bank accounts. For those who can afford a blues cruise there are several choices and with their growing popularity, more to come. You can spend less and avoid airline expenses and gratuities, by driving locally to the Flagstaff Blues and Brews Fest (June 8-9) or to the Superstition Blues Fest at the Flat Iron Community Public Park ( 3/11 from 11am to 5pm). The Rhythm Room in Phoenix regularly provides fabulous talent to the greater metropolitan area. With an overnight stop in Kanab, Utah, Ginny and I don't mind the four-hour drive to the Salt Lake City Blues Fest. The Gallivan Center venue in SLC, amidst its towering skyscrapers, offers a world-class stage and sound system that fronts a natural amphitheater with a grassy knoll, tables and plenty of seating. For a reasonable fee on June 16-17 you can hear some of the best blues. This year's lineup features Sugaray Rayford, Mr. Sipp, Thornetta Davis, The Altered Five Blues Band, Dylan Triplett and don't miss Mitch Woods at the Marriott after hours for Club 88 at the piano bar- sure to include multiple special guests. 

     Locally, many attractive and lively venues can be found. In Flagstaff at Charly's Pub you may find pianist Steve Willis or harp/guitarist Garry Segal. Last year, Flagstaff's Yucca North hosted the California Honeydrops, one of the best. Clarksdale houses the "10/12 Club", Cornville the "Old Corral" and Mayer " The Creekside Inn”, where you may find locals like Chicago Bob or Freddie Freeman. The Prescott jams at the Attic and the Windsock Lounge never disappoint. Other Prescott lounges /bars- the Founding Fathers, The Raven, Whiskey River, Jersey Lily's, and Lyzzard's, all have regular blues shows. Even the Elk's Theater brings the blues with the likes of Calvin Jones and Dennis Jones. 

     My favorite blues festival is the Las Vegas " Big Blues Bender" held at the Westgate Hotel from 9/7-10. The four-day extravaganza is a great value at $917 pp in a Signature Room for four nights. Parking is free, a true rarity for today's Vegas, and the tram stops on site. For $5 one-way it will take you the length of the Strip to the MGM. A short walk to the Luxor will take you to the free tram and to Mandalay Bay, locale to the disappointing House of Blues.  

     The Westgate use to be the International Hotel where Elvis performed for years, until it was bought out by Hilton. When it was the Hilton, it drew Trekkies, like Ginny, to the Star Trek Experience and me to Quark's Bar where for $10 we could split "The Warped" drink (appropriately named) or have some blue Romulan Ale. Good times. The food court at the Westgate is affordable, unlike many Vegas hotels, and if you choose to forego housekeeping, they will credit you for $40 to be applied to an upscale restaurant on site- Asian, Italian or the Benihana's. The Bender site has five venues with music going simultaneously- the large ballroom, the Theater, the Cabaret, and the pool area which has been modified with the latest music technology. Last year, Chris Tofeld (many believe he may be the best blues guitarist alive), owner of the Sand Dollar Blues Club on Spring Mountain Rd., dazzled the lounge area Thursday night for free to anyone in house. 

     This year the Bender's lineup includes Keb'Mo, Beth Hart, Jimmie Vaughn, Tab Benoit, Mike Zito, Danielle Nicole, Ana Popovic, Kenny Neal, Tinsley Ellis, Mr. Sipp, Soloman Hicks, Selwyn Birchwood, Anne Harris, Dennis Jones, Marquis Knox and others. For half the price of a blues cruise and with no ship gratuities, this lineup is more than comparable to a Legendary Blues Cruise. With a four -hour drive from Prescott to the Westgate you can avoid the stress and cost of air travel to Florida and, if you are like my tight-wad self, you can load up your ice chest with snacks, breakfast foods and good vibrations. It's hard to suppress  that Scotch-Irish DNA and those grandmotherly messages. As Ginny would say, "He can't help himself." 

     The success of the Legendary Blues cruises, from the departure ports of Ft. Lauderdale and San Diego, has prompted a series of spin-off in the business. The Big Blues Bender out of Las Vegas has just entered the blues cruise enterprise with the launching of the" Big Easy Cruise" at a cost 0f $1,999- $2241 for an inside cabin. Forget booking upgrades on this cruise beyond an interior room because you will not be in your room for long with all of the music ongoing. Sailing from Ft. Lauderdale, their itinerary includes stops in Cozumel and NOLA. Scheduled from Nov. 4-11, Aboard Holland America's Niew Amsterdam, this ship, built in 2018 has a passenger capacity of 2,666 and a length of 975 feet. It avails consumers specialty dining at several restaurants- the Canaletto, the Tamerind,  the Name Sushi, Rudi's Sol de Mar and the Pinnacle Grill-all at an extra cost. All other eateries are a part of your blues cruise purchase. Gratuities will run approximately $30 per day on each stateroom. The Bender's "Big Easy" will feature Little Feat, Tab Benoit, Irma Thomas, Anders Osborne, Mike Zito, Jimmy Hall, Rockin' Dopsie, Jr., the Honey Swamp Band and other performers- a good line up, but not any superior than the Bender's offer in LV. 

     All the ships used by HAL for their blues cruises are of the same general class with similar amenities and dimensions. They all have a Rocket 88 Club with Mitch Woods and renowned keyboardists, a Rolling Stone venue, a BB King Room, aft pool area setup with a stage on the Lido deck and a large World Stage with ample, comfortable seating. 

     The next Legendary cruise will be from Oct. 28- Nov. 4 2023. It will have stops in Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. Interior rooms per person will be in the $1700-1900 range. This cruise will have a lineup of : Taj Mahal, Elvin Bishop, Charlie Musselwhite, Los Lobos, Tommy Castro, Victor Wainwright, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Rick Estrin, Sugaray Rayford,  Bernard Allison, the Nick Moss Band and others. Departing from  Port San Diego, an early arrival in SD will permit you to board a variety of historic ships at the Maritime Museum next to the terminal. I highly recommend touring the Russian nuclear sub used during the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Midway Aircraft Carrier from WWII. 

     Not to be outdone, but tailored to a more European crowd where blues is immensely popular, Joe Bonamassa’s "Keeping the Blues Alive" cruise targets more international blues fans with its Europe itineraries. In the recent past they have set sail from Barcelona, Spain, where given the chance you could, prior to your launch, admire La Sagrada Familia, other Gaudi architecture, and the surrealist works of Salvador Dali for a consummate cultural experience. 

     This year Bonamassa's cruise which runs from Aug. 17-22, will begin in Athens, Greece (site of the origins of western civilization , democracy, and the Acropolis), continue to Dubrovnik, Croatia, ( located on the Adriatic Sea, this massive stonewalled 16th century Baroque and Renaissance style fortress will leave you breathless). The cruise will last stop in Santorini, Greece, (site of the 16th  century BC eruption in the Aegean Sea). Check prices. Aboard Norwegian Cruise Line's " Jade", your entertainment, in addition to Bonamassa, will include Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Kingfish Ingram, Jimmy Vivino, Vanessa Collier, Eddie 9V and the Cinelli Bros. 

     Add to the list of performers turned entrepreneurs, Delbert McClinton will host his cruise from Jan. 13-20 in 2024 with stops in St. Maarten and San Juan, Puerto Rico. It will part from Ft. Lauderdale, Fl., at a cost of $2750 for an interior room. San Juan, with its free Bacardi Distillery Tour (a short $1 ferry ride from the dock) and the conveniently located fortresses of El Morro and La Fortaleza ,will permanently impress you with the architectural skills of the Spanish Empire. Booked are Marcia Ball, The California Honeydrops, Jimmy Hall, Rev. Peyton, Mike Zito, Teresa James, Red Young, Anson Funderburgh and a cast of contemporaries. Don't be surprised on this cruise if there is a lot of Americana along with the blues. 

     As you can see, there are countless choices that blues fans can make.  Check your schedules, your bank accounts, and don't let the grass grow under your feet. Whether you stay local, drive to Vegas, San Diego, Salt Lake or fly to Ft. Lauderdale or Europe, the blues are alive. Life can be short but there's plenty of gusto to be had when you bust loose. Long live the blues.

Nina Simone

Nina Simone


By Mariana Brandman, NWHM Predoctoral Fellow in Women’s History | 2020-2022 

“The High Priestess of Soul,” Nina Simone was a singer, pianist, songwriter, and civil rights activist. Mostly known as a jazz singer, her music blended gospel, blues, folk, pop, and classical styles. No popular singer was more closely associated with the Civil Rights Movement than Simone. 

Nina Simone was born Eunice Kathleen Waymon on February 21, 1933, in Tryon, North Carolina. Her mother, Mary Kate Irvin, was a Methodist preacher and housekeeper, and her father, John Divine Waymon, worked as an entertainer, barber, and dry-cleaner. The family’s home was filled with music and Simone’s mother encouraged her musical pursuits but did not approve of nonreligious music like blues and jazz. Simone took up the piano before her feet could reach the pedals, and by the age of six, she was playing during church services. 

Simone soon began formal training, her lessons paid for by benefactors who saw her promise as a pianist. She learned classical repertory and specialized in playing the works of Johann Sebastian Bach. Funds donated by a pair of white patrons in Tryon allowed Simone to attend the Allen High School for Girls, a private, integrated high school in Asheville, North Carolina. In 1950, Simone graduated from Allen as the valedictorian. 

She earned a scholarship for a one-year program at the Juilliard School in New York City and used the time there to prepare for the entrance exam to the prestigious (and tuition-free) Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. She worked as an accompanist and piano teacher to support herself but left Juilliard after she ran out of money. Simone applied to Curtis but was denied entry. She always felt that her rejection was based solely on her race and the injustice had a profound impact on her. Simone continued to work as an accompanist and music teacher as she took private lessons and pursued her dream of becoming a concert pianist. 

In 1954, Simone began playing piano and singing at the Midtown Bar and Grill in Atlantic City, New Jersey. She feared that her mother would disapprove of her work in a bar, so she adopted a stage name, Nina (a nickname from a former boyfriend) and Simone (after the French actress Simone Signoret). 

While performing in the Atlantic City and Philadelphia areas, Simone signed with Bethlehem Records and released her debut album, Little Girl Blue, in 1958. Simone still sought to become a concert pianist and used her proceeds from her album to fund her classical training. Simone’s version of “I Loves You, Porgy” from the musical Porgy and Bess became a Top 20 hit in 1959. She decided to move to New York to capitalize on her success. 

Simone had married Don Ross, a salesman, in 1958, but they separated the following year. Simone then married Andrew Stroud, a New York City detective, in 1961, and gave birth to a daughter, Lisa Celeste, in 1962. Stroud left the police force to manage Simone’s career. She had become popular on the cabaret and festival circuits around New York City and continued to release albums throughout the decade. 

Simone was billed as a jazz vocalist, but she often rejected the label, viewing it as a reflection of her race more than her musical style and training. She self-identified as a folk singer, with a style that also incorporated blues, gospel, and pop, among others. She was able to cross genres as both a singer and pianist, and her classical background remained an important part of her musical identity. 

In the early 1960s, Simone often performed in New York City’s Greenwich Village, where she mixed with artists and intellectuals like James Baldwin and Langston Hughes. Along with other African Americans looking to connect with their African heritage, Simone took part in a 1961 American Society of African Culture conference in Lagos, Nigeria. These experiences prompted Simone to get involved with the Civil Rights Movement. Simone performed benefit concerts for groups like the Congress of Racial Equality and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. 

She released the iconic protest song “Mississippi Goddam” in 1964, in reaction to the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama and the assassination of civil rights leader Medgar Evers, both in 1963. The song expressed her frustration with the slow pace of change in response to the efforts of the Civil Rights Movement. She famously performed "Mississippi Goddam” at a concert on April 7, 1968, three days after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Simone continued to speak out forcefully about the African American freedom struggle and became associated with the Black Nationalism and Black Power movements. Her albums covered a wide range of styles and included both politically motivated songs and reimaginations of popular songs. “To Be Young, Gifted, and Black” (1969) aimed to make African American children feel good about themselves and “Four Women” (1966) expressed the suffering and resilience of African American women. At the same time, her covers of songs by Leonard Cohen, George Harrison, and the Bee Gees earned acclaim. 

In the 1970s, as public attention toward the Civil Rights Movement declined, Simone’s music faded in popularity. She and Stroud divorced and Simone left the United States, eventually settling in France. Simone attributed her move abroad to what she saw as the worsening racial situation in the U.S. She continued to release new albums and draw fans to her concert tours, but she performed less as the years went on. 

In 1991, Simone published her autobiography, I Put a Spell on You (taking the title from her famous 1965 song). The Curtis Institute of Music, which had rejected Simone back in 1950, named her an honorary doctor in music and humanities in 2003. Two days later, she died from cancer at her home in Carry-le-Rouet, France. 

Scholars have often overlooked Simone’s legacy because her music crossed genres and could not easily be categorized, but she left a profound mark on American music. Singers such as Aretha Franklin, Rufus Wainright, and Roberta Flack cite her as an important influence. In 2008, Rolling Stone named Simone to its list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time, and, in 2018, Simone was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

John Kally

 John Kally demonstrates the customized device that will aid him in continuing  to play the harmonica despite the amputation of his left hand.

John Kally demonstrates the customized device that will aid him in continuing  to play the harmonica despite the amputation of his left hand.

After Losing Hand, Kally Ready To Get Back Into Action 

By John Johnson 
Managing Editor 

John Kally pulls into his driveway and hops out of his car, eager to greet a visitor who’s shown up a little 
early for a scheduled meeting. He tries to transfer his keys from his right hand to his left in order to 
shake hands. 

The keys fall unimpeded to the pavement. As of Jan. 30, Kally’s left hand is no longer there, but his brain 
hasn’t yet fully adapted to that reality. 

A dedicated harmonica player for more than half a century who last fall competed in the Northern 
Arizona International Blues Challenge and performed in a blues harp showcase at Phoenix’s iconic 
Rhythm Room, Kally was forced to sacrifice his left hand in order to spare the rest of his body from the 
bone cancer that had developed there. The 68-year-old’s thumb was amputated a couple of years 
previously, but a hard growth recently appeared on the hand and it was discovered that the cancer had 
morphed into a much more aggressive form that can quickly spread to the lungs. Oncologists 
determined that the hand had to come off at the wrist in order to preserve the desired margins of 
healthy tissue. 

The full-hand amputation was the fifth surgical procedure he’d undergone for the issue in a span of 
about three years. 

Now Kally, a natural left-hander, must teach himself to do many things differently. One of those is 
playing the harmonica, but he’s about got that one licked and will return to the stage with the Joe Booth 
Band on March 3 at Thumb Butte Distillery. 

“I don’t blame anybody for it; it’s just one of those things that happen,” he said. “My dad died of colon 
cancer when he was 66 and I’ve always kind of used that as a measuring point. In his case, he just 
wouldn’t go to the doctor. 

“I need to do everything I can to keep myself around. I’ve got a family (a wife, two adult children and 
three grandchildren) and I’ve got a dog.” 

A native of Chicago, Kally started playing the harmonica at age 15. He’d gotten Muddy Waters and John 
Mayall albums for Christmas in 1970 and became obsessed with the blues. He originally wanted to take 
up guitar, but couldn’t afford to buy one. 

Shortly thereafter, he saw a live performance by a band fronted by a harmonica player, and that caused 
him to shift his emphasis to the harp. He acquired one, along with an instructional book that served as 
his initial avenue for learning to play it. 

His family soon relocated to the Los Angeles area and he enrolled in a harmonica class taught by Irish 
folk music legend Rick Epping. Meanwhile, he was taking in top touring acts such as Big Walter Horton 
and George “Harmonica” Smith at local joints almost every weekend. 

He was still a teen, but already well over 6 feet tall, and he’d grown a mustache. Also, the standards for 
admission to nightclubs were a little more lax back then. 

“If I could get there to see those guys, I’d go,” he said. “I was getting into some clubs that I had no 
business being in.” 

The family moved again, to the San Francisco Bay Area, prior to his senior year of high school. There he 
took lessons from Gary Smith, who, like Epping, is ranked as one of the top 100 harp players of all time 
by Still, he never played with a group prior to attending college at UC Santa Barbara, 
where he sat in on some jams at a small club. 

He ended up in Phoenix after college, spending a decade in retail management for Kmart before 
teaching high school math for 25 years. He fell in with several folk outfits in the Valley and spent years 
going to blues jams. For a while he was part of an acoustic folk trio that played gigs all over the state. 
“Occasionally somebody would get a band together and want me to play, but I had my work schedule 
and I got married in 1990 and I didn’t feel like I could really commit,” he said. “But I kept playing and 
getting better.” 

He and wife Liz, also a retired teacher, moved to Prescott nine years ago. He became a regular presence 
at local jams and eventually ended up with the Americana-oriented Joe Booth Band. He was a sit-in 
player at first, but became a regular member in short order. He also frequently takes the stage with 
powerhouse blues group Big Daddy D and the Dynamites. 

He’s begun to explore options for a prosthetic hand that will make everyday life a bit more simple. For 
playing the harp, he got a big assist from renowned California harmonica microphone-maker Greg 
Heumann, who customized his Rackit device (primarily used by guitarists who also play harp hands-free) 
to screw onto a mic stand. The harmonica is held securely in a slot between two pieces of foam. 
“I’ve had one rehearsal with the band and it went well, but the real test will be going out live (next week 
at the Distillery),” he said. “There should be a good crowd; that place has really supported us from the 

“I’m a little bit nervous; I’m not worried about playing the tunes or that kind of stuff, but I anticipate 
dropping a bunch of things. That rack – the harmonicas slide in and it’s a tight squeeze doing it with just 
one hand. I’ll have to take a dry run here at the house to see how efficient I am.” 


The Blues Don't Lie

Authored by Mike Todhunter


 In school our English teachers use to tell us that the best writing took place when we wrote about the things that we knew. Blues producer, songwriter and drummer, Tom Hambridge, would concur- producing CD's for the likes of blues torchbearer, Buddy Guy, and upstart Kingfish Ingram and others. 

     In Buddy Guy's recent CD release, "The Blues Don't Lie" and in Kingfish's CD, "662", Buddy and Kingfish both adhered to themes and stories that were close to their life experiences. For Buddy, at the remarkable age of 86, reminescing in his hit and album entitled "The Blues Don't Lie", tells the story of the passing of his dear friend, Sonny Boy Williamson,who in parting told Buddy the truth- that when he quit playing he was going home. For Buddy, " The years go bye and bye". (In the credits Buddy also laments the passing of legendary guitarist, Jeff Beck, and pianist Marty Sammons). 

     On the same album in a tune entitled, "We Go Back", in a duet with Mavis Staples, he plays his polka-dotted guitar like no other, recalling the assassination of MLK in Memphis in 1968. For Buddy and Mavis, "The times were bad ,but what a time we had". Likewise, in Ingram's CD, "662" ( the zip code for Clarksdale, Miss.- a popular blues destination for tourists and festivals), he shares stories about sneaking into and playing in juke joints at the tender age of 11. 

     Like Buddy Guy in his elderly reflections on the passing of friends and time and while adhering to the wisdom of past schoolmarms, I can say that as I roll into Geezerville at the age of 72 with some trepidation but also with the wisdom and knowledge that only comes with the years, I know a little about diminishing skills, loss and the blues. 

     My wife, Ginny, in her typical witty way quips about my Geezerville visitations, playfully digging me that : "It's a race to the bottom.";"I can't help myself."; "He's killing me."; "It's all downhill from here." and "It ain't going to be pretty." No truer word are spoken. 

     All of this reflection and reality parallels how full of life, fun and comraderie we experience during Prescott's blues jams at the Attic and the Windsock lounges with our fellow blues fans and geezers, or to be more polite, "senior citizens".  Age may be a number, but the imagery and transformation when the jam begins inspires and rejuvenates the crowd like a mass shot of B12. The dancers still have the moves, the smiles go ear to ear and we are having a blast. Thank, you, the likes of the Scott O' Neill Band and contributing jammers. What a great attitude adjustment when the endorphins kick in! Good blues can do this to you. A single blues riff can seem to hold us in a blissful eternity. No time for age reflection here- we are having too much fun! 

     But the blues have a generational problem. Currently,, the African -American community are genuinely concerned that their blues legacy will not energize rapper and hip hop enthusiasts to appreciate, play and pass the blues baton forward into the years ahead. 

     A list of performers, young and old, reveals the reality that the old guard of established blues artists are exiting stage right faster than the neophytes can replace them. Living old guard blues icons would include: Taj Mahal, Keb' Mo, Rick Estrin, Booker T, Elvin Bishop, The Stones- Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman, Ronnie Woods, John Primer, Dion, Box Skaggs, Mick Fleetwood, Mitch Woods, and Bobby Rush. This list represents a varied mixed ethnicity, not that it should matter, but to the blues purists and as a matter of cultural pride, there are fewer black bluesmen. Carrying the future of the blues are the likes of: Kenny Wayne Shephard, Dylan Triplett, Marquis Knox, Mike Zito, Tab Benoit, Samantha Fish, Nick Moss, Tommy Castro, Gary Clark, Jr.- all potential blues messiahs and a mixed-race collective. 

     After the death of BB King, Buddy Guy was catapulted to center stage and became the personification of the bluesman. Guy, born in Lettsworth, La. and groomed on a two-sting Diddley bow, this sharecropper's son, is one of the few contemporary artists that can sell out large arenas. Like most successful pioneer bluesmen, Buddy left Louisiana for Chicago and met the legendaries, Howling Wolf and Muddy Waters. He eventually joined harpist Jr. Wells to record for the Denmark label. The irreplaceable Leonard Chess would employ him as the session guitarist for many of the Chess Record recordings that would later be revealed to the world- a new genre of music. 

     One special evening, Buddy touched our souls in a poignant and heartfelt moment on a blues cruise aboard the Holland American ship, the Eurodam, referred to by Buddy that evening as one of those "Damn" boats. Figuring that we'd get there early and get a good seat at the Eurodam's World Stage, we ended up in the balcony with clear sight of the Crow's Nest. I almost got a nose bleed. When the show began, Buddy shuffled to the mic, absent his sea-legs. Barely audible, he told us that this was his first time cruising, that he wasn't at his best, but that'd do his best for the 90-minute show. He looked like a man in his 80's. As he began to play, it was as if a lightning bolt hit the stage and Buddy's guitar. The decades vanished and to our amazement before the show ended, he seized the crowd, traversing the aisles and climbed the stairs to the balcony. We were so close to the legend that we could almost touch him. Stamped in our memory was the feeling that we had just shared a flash of vitality and inspiration courtesy of Mr. Guy. Yes, the show must go on, but that evening we witnessed first-hand a sickly man of 80 years, in a matter of minutes, reincarnate into a youthful musical force that only the great ones can conjure. Buddy proved that the life affirming spirit in us all can be ageless. 

     Ginny and I , similarly, shared another poignant moment courtesy of the immortal pianist, Allan Toussaint. Famed songwriter for the likes of Irma Thomas, and Aaron Neville, Allan wrote Dr. John's hit, ,"Right Place, Wrong Time", and "Lady Marmalade" and many other compositions. He recorded with Fats Domino arranged and produced R&B during his long career. Born to poverty in a shotgun house, he was rich in immeasurable ways. On the boat Allan told us a meaningful story of his youth where everything of importance in his life, he learned on the family porch. With his piano softly providing the backdrop to his tale, we can only speculate what that might have been- the need for love in our lives, the importance of family as a social support system, the necessity of hard-work for success, the need for enthusiasm in what we do; cooperation, friendship, loyalty and faith. Allan Toussaint died two weeks later with his daughter by his side in Madrid, Spain. We miss you, Allan, and your thoughtful words. 

     Lastly, there is the story of William Awihilima Kihaiali'l, better known as Uncle Willie K-Hawaiian bluesman, rocker, opera singer and organizer of the Maui Ukulele Festival. Time permitting, it is an absolute must for music fans to U-tube videos of Uncle Willie playing at Maui's Mulligan's, or leading the ukulele fest of over 400 participants, or playing the blues guitar with Billy Gibbons and fellow icons. Don't miss Willlie singing Pavarotti's "Love Makes a Family" or "Ave Maria" in Italian. With a four active range and a blues guitar that lights fire, you will never forget the big Hawaiian. 

     Ginny and I will never forget our last time with Willie. While at Sammy Hagar's Cabo Wabo in Cabo San Lucas, with front row seating, we witnessed the once giant of a man suffering from terminal lung cancer heave himself upward onto the stage. He thanked promoter Roger Nabor for inviting him to the blues cruise. Willie said that he had always wanted to be on one and he hoped that there would be others. Up close we could see his physical pain, yet no malignity could prevent this humble, spiritual man from delivering a consummate show. Just as we had witnessed Buddy and Allan, once more, the blues showed us the power and spell it can cast over our lives. To Willie, I say ALOHA and MAHALO. We miss you, Big Man. Willie died in 2020 from his cancer at the age of 59, but every ounce of this man was heart. 

     In conclusion, love the blues and the life you have. Love our Prescott jams and embrace the times we have. As Buddy Guy would say,"The Blues Don't Lie". We are made rich and whole in our journey by the people we meet, the songs we sing, and our common humanity. Long live the blues.


Previous events









































Special thanks to Daryl Weisser for photos of local bands and memories from Doheny

Other Links


Northern Arizona Blues Alliance

The Blues Foundation                 

The HART Foundation                 

Daryl Weisser Photography       

PV Music                                         

Mercy Guitar and the Fiddle Doctor

World's Best Cosmo Recipe             

Grey Dog Guitars                           




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Who's the Best Bartender in Prescott?


M at the Windsock

Tiana at the Back Alley Wine Bar

JD at Lazy G's

Erik at the Thumb Butte Distillery

Kristen at the Birdcage

Ryan at the Attic

Sequoia at the Public House

Stacy at the Old Corral in Clarkdale


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