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RIP Lester Davenport 1/16/1932-3/17/2009

Lester Davenport

We're saddened to share the news that blues musician Lester Davenport passed away last Tuesday. Visitation will be held this Friday, March 27, 3pm-9pm and funeral services will be this Saturday, March 28, 10am to 12pm, at A.A. Rayner & Sons Funeral Home, 5911 W. Madison, Chicago, IL 60644, phone 773-626-4222, fax 773-626-5223.

Until 1992, Lester Davenport's chief claims to blues fame were the 1955 Bo Diddley Chess session he played harp on (it produced "Pretty Thing" and "Bring It to Jerome") and a lengthy, much more recent stint holding down the harmonica slot with the multi-generational Gary, IN, band, the Kinsey Report. That instantly changed with the issue of Davenport's own album for Earwig, "When the Blues Hit You," and the follow up on Delmark, "I Smell A Rat." Now this Chicago blues veteran had something on the shelves to call his very own.

Davenport hit Chicago in 1945 at age 14. He quickly soaked up the sights and sounds so prevalent on the local blues scene, checking out Arthur "Big Boy" Spires, Snooky Pryor, and Homesick James, who invited the youngster to jam sessions and tutored him on the intricacies of the idiom. Gigs with Spires and James preceded his brief hookup with Bo Diddley (which included a booking behind Diddley at New York's famous Apollo Theater). Davenport led his own band while holding down a day job as a paint sprayer during the 1960s, remaining active on the West side prior to joining forces with the Kinseys during the 1980s.

Now, about that "Mad Dog" handle: it seems that Davenport liked to prowl the stage while playing a few notes on every instrument on the bandstand during his younger days. The shtick earned him the name; his tenacious playing did the rest.

Aside from all of his great credentials, Lester was a wonderful man who was eager to welcome new friends and share his harmonica secrets to aspiring players. He had a warm smile and the ability to add humor to any situation. His harmonica playing will be remembered for its glorious, sweet tone and perfect phrasing.

(Includes bio written by Bill Dahl, photo courtesy of Kevin Johnson)

Rob StoneRob Stone to open for Etta James at the House of Blues Chicago

Rob Stone will be opening for Etta James at the House of Blues Music Hall in Chicago on Thursday, April 30, 2009. Rob can be heard on the Rob Stone & the C-Notes Earwig recording "Just My Luck" as well as on the groups earlier self-release "No Worries," and as a guest on Chris James/Patrick Rynn's "Stop And Think About It;" all three available in our online store.

Rob Stone is a traditionalist and a seasoned professional on blues harmonica, and he and his group have paid their dues in the smoky Chicago blues joints and toured coast to coast across North America, Europe and Japan - playing countless blues festivals and club dates.

As a vocalist Rob Stone is powerful, yet relaxed and natural; as a harmonica player he evokes the sounds of greats like Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson and Walter Horton. Add the C-Notes and the result is a genuine blues show unsurpassed in energy, feeling, and authenticity, presented with true professionalism and a touch of class.

Earwig News (Vol. 1, Num. 7)

Earwig recording artists recognized as finalists in the International Songwriting Competition

We're proud to announce that both Johnny Drummer and Chris James/Patrick Rynn are finalists in the Blues category of the International Songwriting Competition; Johnny for his song "A Blind Man," off the "Rockin In The Juke Joint" album, and Chris James/Patrick Rynn for "Mr. Coffee" off their debut release "Stop And Think About It," which is also up for a Blues Music Award this year. Winners for the International Songwriting Competition will be chosen from the pool of finalists (15 in the Blues category) in April. We'll keep you posted if either artists makes it.

In honor of their recognition we will be reducing the price of both albums until April 12, 2009. Check out the links below for sound clips and to purchase!

Johnny Drummer (US Shipping)
Johnny Drummer (International Shipping)

Chris James/Patrick Rynn (US Shipping)
Chris James/Patrick Rynn (International Shipping)

Earwig Music 30th Anniversary

Michael Frank, Earwig Music Company CEO announced today many events to commemorate Earwig's 30 years as a blues label and Frank's 37 year association with Honeyboy Edwards. Frank, Edwards & other Earwig artists will be on tour throughout the USA and internationally.

Congratulations are in order to The Blues Foundation, Memphis, TN also celebrating 30 years of promoting the blues. Join now at www.blues.org and attend the Blues Music Awards Thursday, May 7 in Memphis.

Earwig also congratulates Earwig recording artist David Honeyboy Edwards for his Blues Music Award nominations for Traditional Blues Male Artist of the Year and Traditional Blues Album of the Year, plus Chris James & Patrick Rynn for their nomination in the Best New Artist Debut category.

MAY 9, 2009 - Earwig Night @ Simply The Blues Festival - Fort Madison, IA. Featuring Johnny Drummer & the Starliters, Liz Mandeville with the Starliters, and the Blue Four (Chris James, Patrick Rynn, Bob Corritore, Eddie Kobek)

JUNE 10, 2009 - Johnny Drummer & the Starliters plus Liz Mandeville & the Blue Points @ the Old Town School of Folk Music

JUNE 11, 2009 - Johnny Drummer & Liz Mandeville songwriting workshop @ the Old Town School of Folk Music

JUNE 12, 2009 - Honeyboy Edwards, Big Jack Johnson & the Oilers w/Allen Batts, John Primer, and Dennis Binder with Chris James/Patrick Rynn/Bob Corritore/Kenny Smith @ SPACE, Evanston

JUNE 13, 2009 - Piano Tribute to Sunnyland Slim with Allen Batts, Dennis Binder and Aaron Moore backed by Chris James, Patrick Rynn, Kenny Smith and Rodney Brown @ Chicago Blues Festival - Front Porch Stage

JUNE 13, 2009 - Travis Haddix @ Chicago Blues Festival - Crossroads Stage

JUNE 13, 2009 - Wild Women Get The Blues featuring Liz Mandeville & others T.B.A. @ Bill's Blues, Evanston

JUNE 14, 2009 - Big Jack Johnson @ Chicago Blues Festival - Juke Joint Stage

JUNE 14, 2009 - Honeyboy Edwards w/Devil In A Woodpile @ Chicago Blues Festival - Juke Joint Stage

JUNE 14, 2009 - Johnny Drummer & The Starliters @ Chicago Blues Festival - Petrillo Band Shell

JUNE 14, 2009 - Big Jack Johnson & the Oilers w/Allen Batts @ Chicago Blues Festival - Petrillo Band Shell

JUNE 30, 2009 - Rob Stone & the C-Notes, Dave Weld & the Imperial Flames, Honeyboy Edwards w/Aron Burton & Two for the Blues, Johnny Drummer & the Starliters, Liz Mandeville & the Blue Points @ Taste of Chicago

edwards1.jpgAlso catch Honeyboy Edwards & Michael Frank around the USA at these events:

Saturday, March 21 - Honeyboy Edwards with blues piano great Aaron Moore and Michael Frank @ SPACE, Evanston, IL

Monday, March 30 - Honeyboy Edwards & The Kilbourn Alley Blues Band @ 88 Broadway, Urbana, IL

Thursday, April 9 - Patriots Theater at Trenton War Memorial, Trenton, NJ

Saturday April 18 & Sunday April 19 - Juke Joint Festival & Cathead Mini Blues Festival, Clarksdale, MS

Saturday, May 23 - Buddy Guy's Legends w/Devil In A Woodpile - Chicago, IL

Saturday, May 30 - Eureka Springs Blues Weekend, Eureka Springs, AR

Saturday, June 6 - HIghway 61 Blues Festival w/Rocky Lawrence, Leland, MS

Saturday, June 20 - T-Bone Walker Blues Festival, Linden, TX

Friday, July 3 - Mississippi Blues Festival, Davenport, IA

Picture-2.jpgLouisiana Red returns from Germany for his annual North American tour. Check our website in the near future for a more complete list of dates:

Saturday, July 11 - Briggs Farm Blues Festival w/Johnny Drummer & the Starliters - Nescopeck, PA

Sunday, July 12 - Friday, July 17 Augusta Heritage Arts: Blues Week - Elkins, WV

Saturday, July 18 & Sunday, July 19 - T.B.A. - Canada

Friday, July 24 & Saturday, July 25 - Rhythm Room - Phoenix, AZ

Friday, July 31 - Tupelo Music Hall w/David Maxwell - Londonderry, NH

Michael Frank
Earwig Music Company, Inc.


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