As you may know, I have been honored as the 2015 recipient of the Keeping the Blue Alive Award for Journalism given by the international Blues Foundation. I'm so very appreciative of and touched by the recognition that the award itself means as well as at the outpouring of enthusiasm for me from friends, artists I respect and fans of my work. Lincoln musician Marty Steinhausen of the Tijuana Gigolos surprised me with a planned event Wednesday, Jan. 7, at The Zoo Bar for a pre-Memphis send-off party. Performing Wednesday, Jan. 7, 6-9 p.m. are the Tijuana Gigolos, Matt Cox, The Zoo Bar House Band featuring Josh Hoyer and Omaha blues guitarist Steve Byam.
The Blues Society of Omaha also hosts a send-off party for myself and the Hector Anchondo Band in a couple of weeks on Friday, Jan. 16, 6-9 p.m. at The Hive in the Old Market. The Hector Anchondo Band will be travelling to Memphis to represent the Blues Society of Omaha in the International Blues Challenge Jan. 21-24.
Admission to The Hive send-off party is free but any funds raised will go toward the expenses for Hector Anchondo Band's travels. See facebook.com/BluesSocietyOfOmaha, hectoranchondo.com and blues.org/international-blues-challenge for more information.
Heather Newman joins KC Band
Omaha's own Heather Joan Newman has joined former Trampled Under Foot guitarist Nick Schnebelen's trio as a vocalist. The new band, performing as Nick & The Navigators, plays their debut gig at Knucklehead's in Kansas City, Friday, Jan. 2. Newman is an alum of the Blues Society of Omaha's BluesEd youth performance program where she played as part several bands. The program teams youth up to perform in bands and to receive instruction and mentoring from guest clinicians. Since Newman graduated from the program she has pursued her solo career as a singer-songwriter-guitarist. See more about Newman and get updates on her work with Nick & The Navigators at facebook.com/heathernewmanmusic.
BluesEd Youth Program Auditions
The BluesEd program that gave Newman a chance to develop her performance abilities as a teen is currently accepting applications from youth ages 12-18 years of age for the 2015 program. There is a $10 application fee. Auditions are Feb. 8 and sign-up will close in time for the program to provide audition times by Feb. 4. Find more information regarding audition requirements online at bluesed.com.
Friday, Jan.2, 9 p.m. Reverb Lounge hosts All Young Girls Are Machine Guns on a multi-act bill with Dereck Higgins, Xion and CJ Mills. See facebook.com/AllYoungGirlsAreMachineGuns.
Friday, Jan. 2, also marks another Benson First Friday event. Watch facebook.com/BensonFirstFriday for the updated event map. Art is displayed in businesses throughout Benson with happy hour specials, live music performances and more from approximately 7 to 9 p.m.
Saturday, Jan. 3, Waiting Room hosts Heroes: A Songwriters Showcase. A group of local musicians have been gathered to talk about some of their musical heroes and to play songs influenced by those artists. Performing are Hector Anchondo, Mitch Gettman, John Larson, Daniel Burns, Andrew Samson, Jon Jerry, John Finocchiaro and Virginia Kathryn Tanous. This is a great opportunity to hear some of the young roots talent on our scene. See waitingroomlounge.com.
Los Angeles R&B / soul artist Kevin Sandbloom hits Reverb Lounge Wednesday, Jan. 7, 9 p.m. with Sarah Benck and CJ Mills also on the bill. Sandbloom also plays Lincoln's Zoo Bar Thursday, Jan. 8, 9:30 p.m. Sandbloom makes some cool music with his soulfulf voice, a guitar and some digital looping boxes. See kevinsandbloom.com.
Thursday early blues shows at The 21st Saloon return after a holiday hiatus with the virtuoso guitar and high energy of Eddie Turner & The Trouble Twins Thursday, Jan. 8, 6-9 p.m.
The Omaha Lounge, 1505 Farnam St., is offering solo-duo blues and jazz every night 7:30-10:30 p.m. Get out and support this venue that is supporting live and local artists. See facebook.com/theomahalounge for schedule updates.
Looking ahead, Hoodoo favorite and excellent Tex-Mex-blues-roots musicians and phenomenal guitarist Jim Suhler and his band Monkey Beat hit Lincoln's Zoo Bar Wednesday, Jan. 14, and plug in at Omaha's 21st Saloon Thursday, Jan. 15. Both shows are 6-9 p.m. These guys get a dance party started and are a don't-miss show.Their latest release is Panther Burn, a disc that showcases the Suhler and the band's exceptional musicianship and versatility. See jimsuhler.com.
Keep the Hoodoo With You
Remember you will continue to find the weekly Hoodoo coverage you are used in this online format under the Music menu tab here at thereader.com.
My first installment for the monthly print paper can also be found here thereader.com/story/listen_up. This month's write-up is a celebration of listening rooms and DIY concert spaces. As FolkHouse's Jerome Brich says, "Live Music. Dead Music. The choice is simple."