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Best of the Blues 2013

buddy guy
(Photo Courtesy of Crash/B102.7)

2013 is coming to a close and it’s a time to look back on some pretty amazing music that was released this year and remember some incredible performances we witnessed here in Sioux Falls!

I’m shying away from the traditional ‘Top 10′ of the year simply because I don’t think I can narrow it down that far. There were some fantastic releases over the past 12 months and I want to highlight a bunch of them in case you missed them and want to pick them up at the record store (or download them!)

I said I wasn’t going to do a top 10, but I have to start the list with my favorite album of the year, and it was a double album from a 77-year old rock and roll Hall of Famer: Mr. Buddy Guy and ‘Rhythm and Blues’. 20 songs that show every side of the legend and a double disc I just couldn’t stop listening to. Guy even brought in a few guests including Gary Clark Jr., Beth Hart, Kid Rock and the guys from Aerosmith. This is a must own for all blues fans.

On to the rest of the best:

Tedeschi Trucks Band-Made Up Mind. Absolutely phenomenal what this relatively new band (led by the dynamic husband and wife duo of Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks) has accomplished in a short time, becoming the most decorated and sought after blues band on the scene today.

Walter Trout-Luther’s Blues. Trout wanted to pay homage to friend/mentor/legend Luther Allison and did him proud, covering some of Allison’s best loved songs and doing them the way only Trout can do.

Trampled Under Foot-Badlands. A fantastic release from the pride of Kansas City and the band that absolutely stole JazzFest 2013. Danielle, Nick and Kris Schnebelen are one of the rising star bands in the blues and always deliver a top notch live show.

Grouping the next three together as this trio make up the heart of the Royal Southern Brotherhood and all released stellar solo efforts in 2013: Devon Allman-Turquoise; Cyril Neville-Magic Honey and Mike Zito-Gone to Texas. It’s no wonder that together and apart, these three artists are at the top of festival wish lists.

Samantha Fish-Black Wind Howlin’. Fish is a young guitar slinger from Kansas City who despite still being in her early 20′s, has released two critically acclaimed albums and won Best New Artist at the Blues Music Awards.

Sena Ehrhardt Band-All In. A Minnesota Blues band that burst on the scene just two years ago and calls Sioux Falls her second home. They were one of the hits of JazzFest 2012 and their star keeps rising. Great sophomore release from this powerhouse vocalist and her underrated guitar playing father.

Dana Fuchs-Bliss Avenue. Really good release made even better by her live performance. One of the shows of the year (see below) and high on my wish list for JazzFest.

Ana Popovic-Can You Stand The Heat. Popovic has come a long way from her native Serbia and has become an international superstar now touring with two different bands. Her ‘standard’ five piece blues band and the nine piece ‘Mo Betta Blues Band’ complete with horns and more. Ana always puts on an amazing live show no matter who she’s playing with.

Even more great releases from 2013:

Anders Osborne-Peace

North Mississippi All Stars-World Boogie Is Coming

Gov’t Mule-Shout!

The Rides-Can’t Get Enough

Cassie Taylor-Out of My Mind

Popa Chubby-Universal Breakdown Blues

Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa-Seesaw

Indigenous-Vanishing Americans

James Cotton-Cotton Mouth Man

Todd Wolfe Band-Miles To Go

Tinsley Ellis-Get It!

JJ Grey & Mofro-This River

Spin Doctors-If The River Was Whiskey

We were very fortunate to have so many great live shows in Sioux Falls in 2013 as well. JazzFest was fantastic again this summer with Dr. John, North Mississippi All Stars, Doyle Bramhall, Scott Holt Band, Mingo Fishtrap and others, but it was the previously mentioned Trampled Under Foot that left so many people talking in the following days and weeks. This talented trio will be welcomed back to town any time they want to come!

Dana Fuchs at the Icon was absolutely phenomenal. Her storytelling coupled with her voice, stage presence and songs make her another performer that should be welcomed back with open arms.

Walter Trout at Old Skoolz. The legend spent two nights here in Sioux Falls and it was an amazing treat to watch him play and hear him sing.

Janiva Magness at Old Skoolz. After witnessing this show, Magness very well could be my favorite show of the year (and that’s saying a LOT!) A smoking band, a great storyteller who owns the stage and a BIG voice shows you why she was just the second woman (after the late great Koko Taylor) to win Entertainer of the Year at the Blues Music Awards.

So many great shows and so much great music! What a year 2013 was and it makes me anxious to see and hear what’s on the horizon for 2014.

Thank you to everyone for listening to the Blues Fix at 6 and I hope to see you at a show in the new year.

Peace.

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