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Thursday, Sept. 1, 2005 04:18 am

The blues come around

Blue Monday at the Alamo features the Joe Moss Band

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Joe Moss

The blues come in many styles and colors, fitting many different moods. Last weekend’s Old Capitol Blues & BBQ downtown music party was a good representation of the rowdy electric blues born in the bars of Chicago. If you liked that sound, look for more of the same this week.

Joe Moss was weaned on electric Chicago blues with a good measure of ’70s rock and R&B thrown in for flavor. By the time he was 15, playing blues guitar was his passion. Moss got his break when Buddy Scott plucked him from a jam session at the fairly famous Rosa’s Blues Lounge on Chicago’s West Side and put him to work. During his tenure with Scotty and the Rib Tips, Moss received a full-blown music-business education as the band toured Europe, released a major-label CD, and worked steadily on the Chicago blues scene. After the elder bluesman’s death in 1994, Moss gigged around town as a sought-after sideman until 1997, when he formed the Joe Moss Band.

His brother Nick Moss, also a Chicago-blues bandleader, fronts the Flip Tops, a group specializing in a traditional, standard sound based on ’50s electric blues without the more modern influences brother Joe tosses into the mix. In case you were wondering, the brothers in blues politely say that they respect each other’s music but do not intend to perform together.

In 1997, Joe Moss released his first solo record and staked his claim to a soulful, modern blues sound using traditional lyric subject matter, a strong rhythm section, multiple keyboards, and lots of blistering guitar work. Monster Love, Moss’ 2003 CD, continues in the same vein, both lyrically and musically. He takes a few detours into instrumental swing, light funk, and slight R&B but never strays far from those basic blues, using thoughtful arrangements and a consistent guitar sound to create a cohesive recording. Moss is now out on the road, playing blues festivals and hitting clubs throughout the Midwest and, of course, taking his show back to the world-renowned Chicago blues bars where he first learned his trade.

The Joe Moss Band is featured Monday, Sept. 4, at the Illinois Central Blues Club’s Blue Monday jam at the Alamo. The band plays at 8:30 p.m., and the open jam begins around 11. As always at Blue Monday, the cover is just one American dollar.

Music Notes

Tune in Monday night to WUIS (91.9 FM) for a good look at the life and work of songwriter/musician Bob Dylan. The two-part program begins at 7 p.m. with “The Emergence of Bob Dylan,” an overview of the bard’s career containing music, interviews, and personal commentary. The program continues at 9 p.m. with “Written in My Soul from Me to You,” an all-star tribute concert to Dylan’s 1975 album Blood on the Tracks. Thank your friends at Recycled Records and House of Music for sponsoring the independently produced program and your buddies at WUIS for locating and scheduling it.

Hear the rumble and roar north of town, and you know the famed Springfield Mile is back. To us, that means extra live music in the bars on a Sunday night. It also means that the Ethnic Festival (Illinois State Fairgrounds, Ethnic Village) is on all weekend with even more live music. How the two events feed off each other’s crowds, coinciding without colliding, is a great mystery of Springfield lore. Maybe the secret lies within the music of the Groove Daddies. The local classic rockers are playing at the festival on Saturday night, then at the Forty-Niner Bye-Bye (518 Bruns Lane, 217-787-4937) on Sunday for a Springfield Mile afterparty. Guys, what’s going on here?

It’s official. The Disputes win the Hardest-Working Band in Springfield Award for Labor Day weekend 2005. Other bands play twice, but so do these guys — and then they come back for more. The popular hosts of Your MOM, the Monday open mic at Floyd’s Thirst Parlor (212 S. Fifth St., 217-522-2020), play Café Kanichi-Wa (1117 S. Grand Ave. E., 217-544-3500) on Friday night and the MC Tap (2901 Chatham Rd., 217-726-5633) on Saturday. Then they’re back on the job Monday for MOM duty. This week, MOM’s guest, by the way, is the talented and expressive singing guitarist Sarah Schneider.

Cheddar’s Casual Café (3151 Horizon Dr., 217-525-3820) continues to lead the way in local outdoor evening entertainment. Harry Nino and Oysters Rockefeller play on Thursday, Sept. 1, and the Dan Rivero Trio entertains on Tuesday, Sept. 6; yours truly, along with Bill Laymon and Raoul, shows up next Thursday, Sept. 8.
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