Omaha’s Héctor Anchondo has been nominated in the national Blues Music Awards organized by the Blues Foundation, the American blues scene’s highest award for excellence. Anchondo’s 2021 release Let Loose These Chains on VizzTone Records was recognized in the Acoustic Blues Album category alongside heavyweights Maria Muldaur, Eric Bibb, Catfish Keith and EG Kight. Dues-paying members of the Blues Foundation cast their votes to determine winners. Anyone can become a member and support the foundation’s mission for $25. A number of local audience favorites, including Carolyn Wonderland, Sue Foley, Danielle Nicole, Tommy Castro, Curtis Salgado, Mike Zito and Albert Castiglia, are nominated this year. See the nominees and find out more at blues.org/43rd-bma-nominees. Voting closes March 18. The awards will be announced in a ceremony planned for Wednesday, May 5, in Memphis. The International Blues Challenge is rescheduled for May 6-9.
Spread the Blues News
As we hope to breathe continued recovery and normalcy into our music scene, here’s a favor you can help with. Social media metrics continue to grind online posts into zero views, so if you find this column valuable, please go to The Reader’s Facebook page at facebook.com/thereaderomaha and like and share this column with your friends. The monthly column posts live the first Thursday of each month at thereader.com under music, another place you can find and share the link. On Facebook, it generally reposts each Thursday with an update on the Thursday and weekend shows of note. Please share to your social media platforms and help spread the word on blues shows in our area.
Blues Society of Omaha Presents
The Blues Society of Omaha (BSO) continues to organize the Thursday early show series that began under former BSO President and longtime bar owner Terry O’Halloran. The BSO Presents series puts the focus on keeping the music alive for fans to enjoy in person and giving touring musicians a place to play. Venues and artist schedules have been changing due to life as we know it now, so watch facebook.com/bluessocietyofomaha for late-breaking updates. A curated list of area blues events is available at omahablues.com.
Thursday, March 3, the BSO and Buck’s Bar & Grill, 27849 W. Center Rd. in Venice, present Nashville Americana band David Graham & the Eskimo Brothers. This show starts at 8:30 p.m. to accommodate Buck’s busy dinner hour. Pro tip: go early and enjoy a top-shelf, home-style dinner. Check out the rest of the rising country and Americana stars playing the popular venue at bucksbarandgrill.com/events.
Thursday, March 10, 6-9 p.m., at The Jewell, catch Latin America’s new blues star Jose Ramirez. He’s not the baseball player of the same name, but his new recording is titled Major League Blues, just out on Delmark Records. He was a 2021 Blues Music Award nominee for his debut album Here I Come, produced by acclaimed blues guitarist Anson Funderburgh. The Jose Ramirez Band won second place at The Blues Foundation’s 2020 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Check out joseramirezblues.com.
Thursday, March 17, 6-9 p.m., it’s popular St. Louis guitarist and Ruf Records artist Jeremiah Johnson at Stocks n Bonds. Thursday, March 24, 6-9 p.m. at Stocks n Bonds, catch double the guitar muscle with Mike Zito and Albert Castiglia and their Blood Brothers tour. The event promises to feature each artist with his own band followed by a jam session between the players. The Rocky Athas Band plugs in March 31, 6-9 p.m. at Stocks n Bonds. Athas served eight years in the prestigious guitar player’s slot with John Mayall’s band and is also a well-known player on the Texas scene, nicknamed the Malice from Dallas.
Zoo Bar Blues
Lincoln’s historic Zoo Bar has a variety of shows in March, including David Graham & The Eskimo Brothers on Friday, March 4, 9:30 p.m., Jose Ramirez on Wednesday, March 9, 6-9 p.m., and Boston-area keyboard virtuoso Bruce Katz on Friday, March 11, 5-8 p.m. Check out all the shows, including regular weekly shows and last-minute bookings at zoobar.com or the events at facebook.com/zoobarblues.
Bruce Katz can be seen in Omaha at The Jewell, Saturday, March 12, 7-10 p.m.
April is shaping up to be a big month with two shows from West Coast blues harmonica virtuoso Mark Hummel and his all-star blues revue featuring celebrated contemporary blues guitarists Rusty Zinn and Billy Flynn and the acclaimed rhythm section of Wes Starr and RW Grigsby (two of the Lone Star representatives in Hummel’s Golden State-Lone Star Revue). Don’t miss these phenomenal players currently scheduled for Wednesday, April 13, 6-9 p.m., at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar and Thursday, April 14, 6-9 p.m., at The Jewell in Omaha. Find the details at markhummel.com/tour-dates.
Tommy Castro & The Painkillers are scheduled for Lincoln’s Zoo Bar Monday, April 11, 6 p.m.