Archives for posts with tag: Debbie Bond

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 027 smallDebbie Bond was the guest last Monday night on WRFN Radio Free Nashville’s Mando Blues Show recorded in a huge army tent at Omega Studio high on the top of a peak at an undisclosed location in the nearby Nashville wilderness.

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 030 smalldebbie bond mando blues 04082013 028 smallA fantastic crew with Tony Gerber , known for his electronic music compositions, acting as host for the night, went to work on soundcheck with Debbie and her band featuring Rick Asherson on keyboards and Dave Crenshaw on drums getting a much bigger than it looks sound going into the green spec recording layout.

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 014 smallOmega has developed a layout for power using not much more than six car batteries, car stereo amplifiers and LED lighting to run at a deceptively low 1600 watts with state of the art recording as can be seen by linking to the net recordings of the summit.

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 023 smallDebbie brought much more than just blues experience playing with Willie King and Johnny Shines for almost thirty years in Alabama displaying soulful grooves with a nod to Muscle Shoals, Alabama writers like Eddie Hinton, Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham. In this case, the western Alabama juke joint grooves may be at the heart, but, this was soulful blues.

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 020 smallDebbie brought three new songs that will be featured on her next album, “Find A Way,” That Thing Called Love” and “Steady Rolling Man,” that fit right in with “I like It Like That” from her days with Willie King as well as some songs from her most current release Hearts Are Wild with a stand-out version of the slow ballad blues of “Falling.”

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 037 smallNashville session saxophonist Tom Pallardy sat in later in the set after a successful collaborative prior night set at The Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards at Bourbon Street in Printers Alley.

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 035 smallHost Tony Gerber paid tribute to female blues artists with his in-between tracks that also featured some rare Richie Havens and alternative version material.

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 010 smallMando Blues is an esoteric record store workers dream where true collectors and music geeks get to hear all things blues and related materials. They all get a little spotlight. There may be no show quite like this in the world.

An invited group of about 10-12 people got to sit-in on the live recording happening that fit a BBC type production with high production values and plenty of meat in the interview.

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 013 smallTony asked the right questions that will give any listener the feeling they knew where Debbie came from and what she is about after listening to the two hour show.

Although there are provided links to watch video of each one of the songs, it is well worth the price of free admission to listen to the entire show to get the interview segments as well as Rick’s “Monty Python meets Muscle Shoals” sense of humor.

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 007 smallDebbie is a native of California, but, her time growing up was spent in England and Europe while Rick’s roots are Londontown. Debbie and Rick almost crossed paths in College back in England, but, never actually met until Alabama Bluesman, Willie “Sweet Potato Man” King suggested they get to know one another in Western Alabama.

Roy Wooten aka “Futureman” stopped by to listen in and dug the Alabama soul groove coming out of the eventual four piece band with Rick sometimes playing the utility guy playing bass with one hand on the Nord keyboard and blues harp with the other hand and singing back – up vocals. If he had one more arm, they probably could have a full horn section.

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 029 smallTom Pallardy’s sax fit right into the song as if he had been playing with Debbie for years but, in reality he had not heard much of the material. Dave Crenshaw brought down the volume on the drum kit to match the production set up without losing any of the grooves, in fact, it brought out the true dynamics of the songs.

Debbie was so happy with the production and final mix of the material that she has already talked about further recording collaboration with the Omega team.

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 039 smallIt can be said, that there is probably know recording studio like it in the world, with its MASH style tent set up and being at the mountain peak as well as a crew with ears straight out of a JBL lab anechoic chamber. They know what they are doing and they love what they are producing.

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 016 smallWhile production was going on, some of the staff was busy cooking a meal fit for a king in a wood burning cast iron stove in cast iron pots.  The band and crew were treated to Venison Stew, fresh picked greens and chicken after the final wrap.

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 008 small–          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

all photos (c) Brad Hardisty

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Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 049 small“Some who have made their way to Music City think that it is all about country music…OH NO!!!”

The Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards started up about 4:30 in Printers Alley just a few doors down from Jimi Hendrix’s old gig with Billy Cox back in the day at The Black Poodle inside Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar which boogies all week long with Blues, Jazz and plenty of fretboard sweat.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 056 smallGil Gann was hot and MC for the night cuttin’ it up and gettin’ down on the guitar.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 014 smallPhase 6 acted as house band, while the all-stars rotated on and off the stage like a Pancake Buffet Breakfast at Shoney’s.

The awards show is sponsored by The Marion James Musicians Aid Society which helps musicians in need, especially from the rich rhythm and blues heritage that was on and off Jefferson Street from the fifties through the mid-seventies.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 009Tina Brown really started getting things going like Tina Turner on an Etta James afternoon. Tina has a strong voice and personality to match.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 016 smallNashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 107 smallPhase 6 features two generations of serious players; Samuel Dismuke on bass and Samuel Dismuke Jr. on dual duty as vocalist and Trombonist. Long time collaborator Eddie Carter still kicks it on the drums.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 089 smallNashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 013 smallAlabama Blues master, Debbie Bond, played her first set in Nashville at The Jazz and Blues Awards warming up the crowd with a teaser song early on before coming back and playing a set later on in the show. When Debbie Bond took the stage for her full set with Moe Denham sitting in on Hammond B3, she brought some serious Alabama roots with a little of her Willie King experience as well as some Eddie Hinton style Muscle Shoals groove to the local Blues venue. It was a welcome change to what could be considered a get your game on attitude among Nashville’s players.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 052 smallAwards were given out in several categories to artists that gig in and around Nashville. Jefferson Street Sound Artist, Don Adams won best Bassist while Regi Wooten won best Jazz Guitarist of the year.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 104 smallRegi Wooten did a barnburner abbreviated set starting out with a laidback jazz version of “Crystal Blue Persuasion” taking the band as far as he could with some John McLaughlin sans Vernon Reid go where you wanna go Lead guitar work that turned it up a notch. Regi’s band, The Wooten Brothers, which tear down the house every Wednesday night at 3rd & Lindsley, took home Best Live band of the year.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 115 smallNashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 109 smallLola Brown sang backup for Marion James before taking the spotlight herself later with her backup band Area Black featuring Jerome Preston on Bass after Jerome finished a set with Regi Wooten. Lola put it all out there after winning R&B Vocalist of the Year. Lola really brought the church into the boogie bar.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 068 smallMarion James took home a pair of awards which were judged by local Blues and Jazz Artists as well as some special attendees for Female Blues Singer of the Year as well as her recent Ellersoul release, Northside Soul for album of the year. Northside Soul has garnished some national recognition with rave reviews in several publications as well as awards from B.B. King’s Sirius Radio Channel and a Top Ten on the Living Blues Charts.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 081 smallMarion James’s set was a barnburner with her singing from her gut, old school, Otis Redding reborn experience thrown into, “I Just Want To Make Love To You.” Marion is the heart and soul of Nashville R&B history having released three singles on three different labels back in the day, one written by her husband Buzz Stewart on Excello, the top ten hit, “That’s My Man” as well as two other songs by two individuals tied to Jimi Hendrix who used to play guitar for her back when, Billy Cox and Larry Lee.

In more recent times, Marion has released three solid albums in the last dozen years that not only spotlight her voice, but, some excellent songwriting that would not only put her in the spot as “Nashville’s Queen of The Blues” but within an elite group of two or three as Queen of The Blues from a last Blues woman standing viewpoint since the passing of Precious Bryant in January.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 062 smallThe Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards is something a very down home event in complete contrast to the glitz and glam of the Country music industry. Marion James almost singlehandedly has wanted to support recognition for the Blues and R&B community of Nashville.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 004 smallMarion James has this to say: “Down through the years, everyone has come through or stumbled upon Nashville, Tennessee to either visit or make their mark in the music industry. Some who have made their way to Music City think that it is all about country music…OH NO!!!

R&B, Jazz and the Blues have been around for more than just some time.  Matter of fact Jazz and Blues are all around you in all of the music.  So we are actually not hard to find.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 034 smallThere have been a number of very good musicians that come through Nashville.  Some could read, some couldn’t, some could  write it down on paper, and some only needed to hear your idea and could play it the first go round.  It really didn’t matter because they were very well seasoned and could accommodate any artists that needed them.

Most of our Legends like, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Jones, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Charles Dungey, Milt Turner, Ted Jarrett, just to name a few, have passed on and we must turn the baton over to some of the younger generation, who are worthy, to carry the torch and pave a new way out of what they were brought up on…Jazz, R&B and Blues, and carry on the tradition of the root of it all and with some new and original twists added.

We must continue to raise funds and support these new comers as if we taught them ourselves, as if we have rubbed off on them and put a little of our soul into their soul so that WE may live on in them. Knowing that they will continue in what we love so much and that is “THE MUSIC.”

This is why I love giving the Jazz and Blues Awards event every year.  It is an annual event that shows our younger people that we see them, we recognize them, we are watching them, but most importantly we are encouraging them.

So move over Country music and make room for our up and coming talent and artists. Offer them a hand up and a way to succeed. Allow them to keep the music coming and growing. Let’s keep them in the spotlight, because there is a Jazz, Blues and R&B artist standing in the wings, waiting for you to reach out and give them a helping hand.”

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

Debbie Bond, photo - Thomas Z'Graggen

Debbie Bond, photo – Thomas Z’Graggen

“The last thing Willie King said to me was, “Keep on pushing Debbie!” – Debbie Bond

Debbie Bond will be playing for the first time tonight in Nashville at The Nashville Blues and Jazz Awards  that begins at 4PM with a $10 door at Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar and is presented by The Marion James Musicians Aid Society to benefit the heritage musicians that lived and worked around the Jefferson Street community in the R&B heyday from about 1950 through the mid-70’s.

debbie bond album coverDebbie’s most recent album Hearts Are Wild got a thumbs up from the Nashville Blues Society last year after its release. Hearts Are Wild is Debbie’s second solo album and her first since Willie King passed away in 2008.

Debbie, as well as her husband Rick had been a part of Willie King’s band for several years playing in and around Alabama as well as touring Europe.

Debbie Bond has also spent several years developing The Alabama Blues Project that educates young and not so young children about blues music and gives them the opportunity to develop the skills to play blues music.

Debbie feels that Alabama has never received the recognition that it deserves in relation to the development of Blues and American music. Essentially, Alabama really is joined at the hip with Mississippi and there was a lot of cross-state-lines intermingling goings on from the very beginning.

Brad Hardisty/ The Nashville Bridge: How long have you been living and playing the Blues in Alabama?

Debbie Bond:  Thirty years. I actually came here in 1979.

TNB: Was it originally to work with Johnny Shines?

Debbie Bond, photo - Robert Sutton

Debbie Bond, photo – Robert Sutton

DB: It wasn’t.  It was just to visit some friends and I was kind of going through some heartache stuff in England and I…uh…originally it was just to come for the summer to get away. But, one thing lead to another and well… included hooking up with Johnny Shines (A contemporary of Robert Johnson).

TNB: You were playing guitar at the time?

DB: Yeah, I was playing guitar. I really started off playing acoustic guitar. I was playing folk songs and I love the blues. I was in a band in England when I was in College in ’75 through 1978 and we played that music in Brighton, England. So, when I came here, you know, I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into.  I had a lot of prejudices about Alabama and Alabama culture and the south.  I had my mind blown by the music and the food and the southern culture.  I was humbled. I was brought to my knees. I ended up staying.

TNB: I was kind of the same way. I thought the south would be a certain way and it was totally different than I figured.  So, the last project that you were in was a group before you went solo and that was playing with Willie King, right?

Debbie Bond onstage with Willie King

Debbie Bond onstage with Willie King

DB: Yeah, the last band and probably the most serious musical situation that I was in was with Willie King for the last seven years of his life. I toured and recorded with him. Rick, my husband is British and before I married him he had hooked up with Willie and Willie introduced me to Rick. Willie was the best man at my wedding and we married at Freedom Creek and so I have Willie to thank for that big time besides the musical experience and so that was a really big blues experience in my life.

TNB: Did Willie meet Rick overseas?

DB: No, he met Rick here. This is a crazy story but Rick was in Clarksdale, Mississippi and went into Jim O’Neal’s little shop downtown and asked where there was he could hear some blues tonight and they said, “Well, there’s no blues here.” But, because of the connection to Jim O’Neal, a lady who ran the record store and also sold kind of voodoo stuff, said, “There is the Freedom Creek festival over in Alabama tonight.” Rick actually drove all the way to Pickens County, Alabama, which was four and a half hours away. He ran into somebody who didn’t know where The Freedom Creek Festival was and sent him all the way to Tuscaloosa which was another hour out of the way. Rick happened to see my notice and directions in the local record store, Oz Records in Tuscaloosa, then drove all the way back, I mean, then ended up driving into the Festival. His mind was blown. He ended up…Willie said. “Stay.” Rick stayed with Willie camping out there and staying in his trailer and went on the road with Willie and toured just like that. Rick plays harmonica and keyboards.

TNB: What year was that?

DB: That was in 2002 and then we met. I think we went on one date then moved in together and then we got married and Willie was our best man. We married on Freedom Creek and had our wedding ceremony there and then had our party at the local juke joint.

TNB: So, in 2008 you started working on Hearts Are Wild?

Debbie Bond, photo - Robin McDonald

Debbie Bond, photo – Robin McDonald

DB: Yeah, I just started focusing on my own music. I was running the Alabama Blues Project. I founded the Alabama Blues Project and I really just wanted to do my own thing for a change.  The last thing Willie King said to me was, “Keep on pushing Debbie!” I just really wanted to do my own music. So, I kind of got the Blues Project on its own feet. We still do things with the Blues Project, but, we just tried to focus on my own music and eventually we ended up putting out Hearts Are Wild. I think our official release date was 2012.

TNB: Have you toured overseas since the release date?

DB: Yeah, we played over in the Tarragona Blues Festival and also we played in England and France actually. When it first came out we played a show in France and also at a radio station then a show in England. The Tarragona Blues Festival is in Spain.  We are actually going back to play the festival again in November. I’ve written a song called “Tarragona Blues.”

TNB: So, that is where you are establishing your crowd?

DB: Well, it just so happens, you know how things kind of fall into place. I don’t have a booking agent, so, I am just kind of doing things myself as they come along through Facebook really. Facebook has been really great for me. So, it just so happened that we were going to be in Spain and we were going to be in Europe and The Tarragona Festival just fell into place. I mean it was so synchronistic on the only dates we could possibly do it. So, we did it and they really loved the show. They loved us and are having us back. We are definitely building an audience there and I’m hoping I can release the song, “Tarragona Blues” which I wrote the night before the festival and played at the festival. They really enjoyed it. I want to record it and release it in Spain as a single.

TNB: Are they getting into buying vinyl in Europe like we are in the States?

DB: I don’t know.The fact of the matter is times are hard in Spain like they are in other parts of Europe. Maybe not as bad as Greece, but, it still is hard times. So, I don’t know the answer to that.

TNB: As far as releases. Are they buying songs on the web or do they want product?

DB: I find most people are buying CD’s at shows. You know the web is great for promoting, but, I haven’t found that with my audience. My audience seems to like the real CD.

TNB: Yeah, it seems like here in the states we have a lot of hardcore vinyl collectors now.

DB: I’m hearing that.  If I could get just a little bit more on the map and more successful, I would definitely consider putting out a vinyl recording.

TNB: Yeah, it seems like even in limited runs a lot of bands are doing it here in Nashville because we have United Record Pressing. They used to press all of Motown. They have a Motown Suite upstairs in the plant. They are pressing a big portion of what is being done right now.

DB: That’s good to know. I know there is a way to go back to vinyl and I have all my records and we do listen to our records on our record player.

TNB: I’m actually buying more vinyl than I do CD’s right now.

DB: I am hearing that from the record stores. I am going to definitely take that into consideration. But, at this stage in the game I just think it’s so affordable to do CD’s.

TNB: Okay, you have never played Nashville before. Have you played in Tennessee before, maybe, Memphis?

DB: I have not played in Memphis.

TNB: So, this is your first gig in Tennessee.

DB: Yeah it is.

TNB: You are also going to be playing on the Mando Blues Radio Show on Monday.

DB: I’m really looking forward to it. I’m hoping you can make it.

TNB: What are you looking forward to the most about being in Nashville?

Debbie Bond, Rick on keys, photo - Robin McDonald

Debbie Bond, Rick on keys, photo – Robin McDonald

DB: I feel like it’s an adventure. I have great sympathy for Nashville because I think it is kind of like Alabama. People don’t think of the blues when they think of Nashville and the fact that there is this really cool blues culture is exciting to me. I fell like it is an honor to be part of the line-up at The Nashville Blues and Jazz Awards that includes Marion James and all these veteran blues musicians. I’m really thankful and excited to be part of it.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com