Friday, February 24, 2017

Yardbirds, Mitch Ryder, Lazy Lester, Joe-El Sonnier, Robby Krieger headline Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival, May 27-28

The Yardbirds are set to play at the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival
on May 27, 2017. Photo: Arnie Goodman
May of 2017 is shaping up to be a great month for blues fans in Southern California. A week after the Doheny Blues Festival plays out in Dana Point, the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival is set to host a number of established and up-and-coming artists over the Memorial Day weekend in Simi Valley, CA. Here is the media release...

Surviving Doors members drummer John Densmore and Robby Krieger performing at "Celebration for Ray Manzarek" event in Los Angeles in 2016. Robby Krieger will be among the headliners at the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival in May 2017. Photo: Kelly A. Swift

Los Angeles area’s largest Cajun, Zydeco, Blues and Roots music festival, featuring two stages, a Mardi Gras parade, crafts and dozens offood booths, takes place Memorial Day weekend.

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — The 28th annual Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival will once again enliven Memorial Day weekend, Saturday and Sunday, May 27 and 28, at Rancho Santa Susanna Community Park, 5005 Los Angeles Ave., in Simi Valley. The event features a full stage for each of its musical genres. The spirited music will go non-stop each day from 12 noon until 7:30 p.m. (or 10:30 a.m.-8:30 p.m.).
Single Day tickets are $25 for adults (13 and over); $45 for a 2-day pass; children 12 and younger are free. New this year will be a limited number of SuperTicket passes. For $124 for a single day or $199 for both days, SuperTickets holders get a reserved seat, in the shade, directly in the front of the blues stage as well as private bar access (and two complimentary drinks) and other exclusive “backstage experiences.” Tickets are available on the festival’s website: (Note: the only tickets available at the gate are single-day, $30)
Headlining the blues stage this year will be the pioneering blues-rock band the Yardbirds, theRobby Krieger Band (celebrating 50 years of the Doors' music), Mitch Ryder, Lazy Lester and the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy; as well as L.A.-based roots-rockers the 44’s, soulful SoCal songstress Alex Nester and festival returnees Kelly’s Lot. Another festival favorite, Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers, returns for the fourth straight year and will be performing at both stages. 
On the Cajun and Zydeco stage will be the “original ragin’ Cajun” fiddler Doug Kershaw; Grammy-winning accordionist Jo-El Sonnier and the Cajun Trio featuring Michael Doucet, David Doucetand Mitch Reed. Performing on this stage too are Crawdaddio and the Bayou Brothers, who also will back Lazy Lester on the blues stage, while Big Chief Monk Boudreaux & the Golden Eagleswill play on both the Cajun/Zydeco and Blues stages.
The annual Mardi Gras Parade will take place both days, and everyone is invited to join in with the marching bands, stilt walkers and other costumed characters. Also, during the breaks at the Cajun/Zydeco stage, dance instructor AJ Gibbs will lead the crowd in free dance lessons.
About the headliners:
The Yardbirds: In the mid-’60s, the Yardbirds revolutionized music as they pushed British blues rock into psychedelia and heavy metal. Godhead guitarists Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page all spent time in the band, playing alongside core members Jim McCarty (drums), Chris Dreja (rhythm guitar/bass) and the late Keith Relf (vocals/harmonica). McCarty recently assembled a new touring line-up that includes guitarist Johnny A (Peter Wolf), bassist Kenny Aaronson (Joan Jett, Hall & Oates), veteran harpist Myke Scavone and vocalist/guitarist John Idan, who has been a Yardbird since the Nineties. The group performs at the festival on Saturday, May 27.
The Robby Krieger Band: Regularly cited as one of rock’s all-time top guitarists, Krieger shot to fame in the Doors. The Los Angeles native wrote or co-wrote some of the band’s signature tunes, like “Light My Fire,” “Love Me Two Times,” “Touch Me” and “Love Her Madly.” The Robby Krieger Band will celebrate 50 years of the Doors’ music when then make their Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival debut on May 27.
Mitch Ryder: If you have ever heard Bruce Springsteen perform his “Detroit Medley,” you know Mitch Ryder’s impact on rock history. The medley’s main songs — “Devil With a Blue Dress,” “Jenny Take a Ride,” “Good Golly Miss Molly” and “C.C. Rider” — are all tunes Ryder popularized while fronting the Detroit Wheels in the mid-’60s. The powerhouse vocalist has remained a popular performer, especially in Europe. This year finds Ryder readying a new album and working on a stage musical based on his novel Hide Your Love Away. Experience Ryder’s dynamic rock & soul sound on the blues stage Sunday.
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy: For nearly a quarter century, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy has been combining the old with the new. Folks can’t help but to dance to the band’s exhilarating blend of jazz, swing and Dixieland with rock ’n’ roll energy. Formed in Ventura, California, the band has recorded 10 albums and played over 2700 live shows, including playing for three U.S. presidents. Rather remarkably, the group remains composed of its core members: Scotty Morris (lead vocals and guitar), Kurt Sodergren (drums), Dirk Shumaker (bass), Andy Rowley (baritone saxophone), Glen "The Kid" Marhevka (trumpet), Karl Hunter (saxophones and clarinet) and Joshua Levy (piano). They’ll make their second Cajun & Blues Festival appearance when they hit the blues stage on Sunday.
Doug Kershaw: Known as the “original ragin’ Cajun,” Kershaw found crossover success during the late ’60s when his fierce fiddle playing and hippie-style appearance won favor with young rock audiences. His career started in the mid-’50s when he teamed with his brother Rusty to become a popular country duo, scoring hits with “Diggy Diggy Lo” and the autobiographical “Louisiana Man.” Kershaw, who was inducted in the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2009, will perform on the Cajun/Zydeco stage on May 27.
Lazy Lester: The story goes that, in the mid-’50s, Lazy Lester met Lightin’ Slim by chance on a bus. Slim needed a harmonica player for a recording and Lester could play the harp. He wound up playing on many of Slim’s Excello albums before making his own Excello debut in 1957. The Blues Hall of Famer’s best known tunes include “I’m a Lover Not a Fighter,” “I Hear You Knockin’,” and “I’m Gonna Leave You Baby.” After taking a hiatus, Lester returned to music in the late ’80s and he has made several albums since. Now in his 80s, Lester still blows a mean, swamp-bluesy harp. He’ll take the blues stage on May 27, backed by the Bayou Brothers.
Jo-El Sonnier: Hailed as the “King of Cajun Music” for the past 25 years, Sonnier is a wizard of the accordion. The much-in-demand musician has recorded with such stars as Johnny Cash, Alan Jackson, Robert Cray, Neil Diamond, Mark Knopfler, Elvis Costello, Merle Haggard and Dolly Parton. A multi-Grammy nominee himself, Sonnier won a Grammy for Best Regional Roots Music Album in 2015. He returns to Simi Valley for the second time, performing on the Cajun stage Saturday and Sunday.
The Cajun Trio: Michael Doucet, David Doucet & Mitch Reed: These three musicians were all founding members of BeauSoliel, the internationally renowned, multi-Grammy winning group that Garrison Keillor hailed as the "best Cajun band in the world." This trio, with Michael Doucet on fiddle, his brother David on guitar and Mitch Reed on various string instruments, showcases its virtuosity by slipping effortlessly among musical genres. They will play, along with a special surprise guest, both days of the festival.
Big Chief Monk Boudreaux & the Golden Eagles: A true ambassador of New Orleans, Joseph Pierre “Big Chief Monk” Boudreaux is the leader of the Golden Eagles, a New Orleans Mardi Gras Indian tribe. They are known for their elaborate attire, which includes handmade suits adorned with brightly colored feathers, intricate beadwork, rhinestones and ruffles, as well as their music, which combines folk traditions with funk and R&B. Boudreaux, a 2016 recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Award, brings his Golden Eagles to the Cajun/Zydeco stage on Saturday and the blues stage on Sunday.
Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers: A Cajun & Blues Festival favorite, Dwayne “Dopsie” Rubin returns to Simi Valley for the fourth straight year. He also will be hard to miss since he will be performing on both the blues and Cajun/Zydeco stages on Saturday and back on the Cajun/Zydeco stage on Sunday. The son of Zydeco legend Rockin’ Dopsie Sr., Dwayne has carved out his own successful career. His highly energetic Zydeco style has earned him a Grammy nomination and the title of “America’s Hottest Accordion” player.
The blues stage once again was booked by Martin Fleischmann and his company, Rum & HumbleFor more than 20 years Rum & Humble has played a key role in presenting some of the world’s great musical talent (Radiohead, King Sunny Ade, and the Rolling Stones, to name a few) to Los Angeles audiences, in venues like the Hollywood Bowl, the Orpheum Theatre and the Santa Monica Pier. They also have been a pioneer promoters in the field of Latin alternative music; Fleischmann is one of the co-founders of L.A.’s Congo Room. Additionally, Rum & Humble has collaborated closely with artists such as Jackson Browne and Paul Oakenfold as well as with a varied roster of corporate and non-profit clients, such as KJAZZ Radio and the National Geographic Society.
The Cajun & Blues Festival has received national press accolades: “Everywhere you turned, there was something exciting happening,” wrote Blue Revue editor Art Tipaldi, who travelled to L.A. from New England. After attending last year’s concert, Jazz Weekly’s George W. Harris proclaimed: “Forget the Playboy Jazz Festival, the Simi Valley Cajun & Blues fest beats the older and richer sister. This is coming from a jazzer, yet still, pound for pound and dollar for dollar, I have more fun here than in Hollywood … it “delivered music made to last … can’t wait until next year.”
Besides the great music, festival-goers can enjoy great food too. Southern BBQ and authentic Cajun-Creole cuisine, such as jambalaya and crawfish, are available at dozens of food booths, which will also feature a variety of other dining options. There will be rows of craft booths and retailers to check out as well.
To get to the Rancho Santa Susanna Community Park, take California Hwy. 118 (Ronald Reagan Freeway) north from L.A. Exit at Stearns Street and go a couple blocks south. Ample free parking is available, with the main lot at the Simi Valley High School; a free shuttle takes to you to the park. This year, the festival has added thousands of square feet of additional tenting for shade at no additional charge. Low back chairs are recommended; however, pop-ups will no longer be allowed in the festival grounds.
100% of the festival’s profits are donated to charitable, educational and humanitarian causes on a local, national and international level. A list of these organizations may be found at <>.  
The Simi Valley Cajun & Blues Music Festival is a presentation of the Rotary Club of Simi Sunrise.

Schedule — subject to change:

Kelly’s Lot
Lazy Lester
The Yardbirds
The Robby Krieger Band
Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers
Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers
Cajun Trio featuring Michael Doucet, David Doucet and Mitch Reed
Mardi Gras Parade
Jo-El Sonnier
Doug Kershaw  
Alex Nester
The 44’s
Mitch Ryder
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Big Chief Monk Boudreaux & the Golden Eagles
Bayou Brothers
Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers
Mardi Gras Parade
Cajun Trio featuring Michael Doucet, David Doucet and Mitch Reed
Jo-El Sonnier  

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Joe Walsh, Mavis Staples, Melissa Etheridge, Moreland and Arbuckle, more coming to 2017 Doheny Blues Festival

Mavis Staple, seen here performing in Dana
Point in May 2011, returns to the Doheny Blues
Festival this year. Photo: Robert Kinsler
The Doheny Blues Festival 2017 lineup is looking great with a growing list of great artists set to perform at the two-day festival coming to Doheny Beach in Dana Point, CA in May.

In addition to singer-guitarist Joe Walsh, Melissa Etheridge's Memphis Rock & Soul Revue, gospel legend Mavis Staples, Jason Bonham's Led Zeppelin Experience, dynamic blues duo Moreland & Arbuckle, guitar great Robin Trower, guitar hero Ronnie Earl, singer-guitarist Samantha Fish and many more are set to play May 20-21, 2017.

I have been going to the wonderful event since 1998 and the festival is truly a blast. Great music, great food, great people and the event is on the beach! It doesn't get any better than that!

Visit the Doheny Blues Festival website at for more information.

Glen Campbell's unforgettable albums "Gentle On My Mind," "Wichita Lineman" and "Galveston" to be reissued on Vinyl

Glen Campbell fans who love vinyl will love this news...

Gentle on My Mind, Wichita Lineman and Galveston, the star-making albums that helped make Glen Campbell a global superstar and household name, will be reissued on vinyl on March 24, 2017 via Capitol Nashville/UMe. The three titles, which haven't been available on vinyl for decades, will be released on standard black vinyl and housed in replicas of the original sleeve art. Each album will also receive a limited edition color run that will be available exclusively at at a later date. 

Gentle on My Mind, released in 1967 on Capitol Records, was Campbell's breakthrough album. It was the first to go to No. 1 on the country music charts and reach the platinum sales mark of one million albums sold. At its heart was the single, "Gentle on My Mind," a cover of John Hartford's original that so enchanted Campbell, he called in some of his buddies from his legendary studio band, The Wrecking Crew (which included Leon Russell), and recorded it himself to submit to his producer Al De Lory. His first major hit, the song earned him his first two Grammy Awards and made the Arkansas native a rising star. Gentle on My Mind can be pre-ordered here and  streamed here:
Released as Campbell was becoming a television star, film actor and crossover sensation, Wichita Lineman remains Campbell's best-selling album. The double-platinum release reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and stayed there for a month (bracketed by Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland and only unseated by The Beatles (The White Album). Wichita Lineman stayed atop the country music charts for 20 weeks and was the year's top release in the genre. Centerpiece single, "Wichita Lineman," written by Campbell's songwriting soulmate Jimmy Webb, was nominated for Record of the Year at the Grammy Awards and Single of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards. In 2000, the title track – one of Rolling Stone's "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" – was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Wichita Lineman can be pre-ordered here and streamed here:
Campbell teamed up with Webb again for two hits on his next album, Galveston, released in 1969. The title track returned to No. 1 and was a crossover hit. The duo logged another minor hit with the follow up single, "Where's the Playground Susie." Campbell's last platinum-selling album of his late-1960s run arrived as he began to host his own television variety show, "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour," and became a household name in the U.S. Galveston can be pre-ordered here and streamed here:
Taken together, Gentle on My MindWichita Lineman and Galveston capture the Country Music and Musicians Halls of Fame member at the height of his powers. A country superstar, a member of The Beach Boys with his fingerprints on music history, one of pop's greatest guitar players – all his personas can be found on this amazing run of albums. 
Listen to Glen Campbell's Best Of Playlist here:

Gentle on My Mind track listing
Side A
1. Gentle on My Mind
2. Catch the Wind
3. It's Over
4. Bowling Green
5. Just Another Man
6. You're My World
Side B
1. The World I Used to Know
2. Without Her
3. Mary in the Morning
4. Love Me As If There Were No Tomorrow
5. Cryin'
Wichita Lineman track listing
Side A
1. Wichita Lineman
2. (Sittin' on) The Dock of the Bay
3. If You Go Away
4. Ann
5. Words
6. Fate of Man
Side B
1.Dreams of the Everyday Housewife
2. The Straight Life
3. Reason to Believe
4. You Better Sit Down Kids
5. That's Not Home
Galveston track listing
Side A
1. Galveston
2. Take My Hand for a While
3. If This is Love
4. Today
5. Got to Have Tenderness
6. Friends
Side B
1. Where's the Playground Susie
2. Time
3. Until It's Time for You to Go
4. Oh What a Woman
5. Every Time I Itch I End Up Scratchin' You

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Craig Chaquico reunited with long lost 1959 Les Paul Sunburst - Hopes to Perform with it Again Thanks to "Meeting of the Musical Minds"

This is a story with a happy ending. Craig Chaquico had first shared a bit of news about his beloved 1959 Les Paul Sunburst electric guitar when we chatted at NAMM several years ago. You can read my original article referencing the quest to get back his guitar here. Craig is one of my favorite rockers; he has a great heart, loves his fans and has an enduring passion for making music. Read on below for the media release that landed in my inbox today...

Craig Chaquico with 1959 Les
Paul Standard Sunburst guitar.

Photo credit: Roger Ressmeyer
For Jefferson Starship guitarist and original founding member Craig Chaquico, "Find Your Way Back" has a whole new meaning some 35 years after writing, and performing on, the Billboard Top Ten single from the band's 1981 album, Modern Times.
It was a year ago this month that Craig informed his worldwide fans about his quest to retrieve his beloved 1959 Les Paul Sunburst guitar (9-2180) that was thought to have been destroyed during a summer of '78 fiery riot in Lorelei, Germany, right after it was announced that Jefferson Starship wouldn't be taking the stage that day as a result of legendary singer Grace Slick not feeling well.
Fearing for their safety, the band members that were on site -- Craig, David Frieberg, and John Barbata -- quickly evacuated the area. Grace Slick, Paul Kantner, Marty Balin and Pete Sears were still at the hotel. Devout fans of the band know that their next show in Hamburg together would mark the last for this original line-up.
Almost all of the bands’ instruments and gear went missing during this riot, including Craig’s rare 1957 Les Paul Gold Top (still missing – Serial No. 7 8793 – played on the first two Jefferson Starship hit albums, Dragon Fly (1974) and Red Octopus (1975)), and this recently discovered ’59 Sunburst guitar that was near-and-dear to Craig's heart, as he used it on the platinum-selling Jefferson Starship albums, Spitfire (1976) and Earth (1978), and can be heard on such classic hits as "With Your Love," "Count on Me" and "Runaway" among others. Of course, it's this rock and roll history that has added extreme value to the guitar. 
Part of the successful identification process which, without the serial number, included Craig going through thousands of high-resolution photos in the vast archives of Roger Ressmeyer who was a key band photographer throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, including for both the Spitfire and Earth albums.
In what could be called "a feel good story," the '59 Sunburst has finally found its way back.
"Miracles" happen.
Three years after he was tipped off that the guitar might still be in existence, Craig's difficult quest to get it back has ended after a meeting of the musical minds between Craig and the instrument's current owner, a guitar aficionado, himself.
After more than a year of back-and-forth's in the legal system, the two musicians sat down and talked about the history of the guitar (now known affectionately as "Lorelei") and what it meant to each of them. And it was this discussion that led to a confidential settlement agreement and resolution between the parties...
"Seeing the guitar for the first time after so many years brought back so many memories for me," states Chaquico. "One of my dreams from the outset was simply to perform or record with it again... and it looks like that dream just might come true."
In a gesture of good will from one musician to another, the current owner of the '59 Sunburst (who has now owned the instrument for almost a dozen years) would like Craig to continue making great music and providing further heritage to the instrument that already has an illustrious past thanks to Craig. This guitar went everywhere with him beginning in the mid-70's until it vanished at the riot.
"I'm thoroughly excited about hitting the stage with it again sometime this year," says Craig. "It'll be a magical moment for me and I'm sure I'll feel like a 'kid' in the mid-70's all over again. 'Lorelei' truly is one of my favorite guitars of all-time."
"What was most pleasing for me was seeing Craig and the current owner, both lovers of music and guitars, sit down for a day and talk amongst themselves to develop a trust," says attorney Peter Koenig who represented Craig in his pursuit of the guitar. "While us lawyers discussed esoteric legal points as to who, rightfully, would keep the guitar, Craig opened a dialogue with the current owner that ultimately allowed for both of them to share their feelings and realize their dream outcome. I look forward to the music Craig makes on '9-2180'."
The value of the guitar can only increase over time if it remains in its impeccable condition.
According to a Guitar Player magazine article in April 2016, Metallica's Kirk Hammett purchased a 1959 Les Paul Standard that was previously owned by Fleetwood Mac founder Peter Green and guitar great Gary Moore for a reported $2 million.
Craig looks forward to great things ahead, commenting, "What I'd really like to see is a reunion of Jefferson Starship original members who lost their instruments that day come together and perform with them again. Pete Sears got his bass back in 2013 and John Barbata got his cymbals back shortly after the riot."
As the popular Jefferson Starship song, "Rock Music," says, "Rock 'n' Roll is good time music... listen to it!"
And to quote yet another one of their hits, "Freedom at Point Zero," " 'n Rock 'n' Roll isn't over!"

Craig Chaquico Social Media
Official Website:
Twitter: (@CraigChaquico)
For more detailed information on the riot, itself, please see -