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Wednesday, July 25, 2007 12:15 am

Color me blues

The JW-Jones Blues Band play the Alamo on Monday, July 30

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JW-Jones Blues Band plays the Alamo on Monday, July 30.
Untitled Document It seems that central Illinois is mired in a “mess o’ blues” — and, brother, that is a good thing. Last Friday, Phillip Walker (man, was he great) played Starship Billiards, and on Saturday the Chatham Sweet Corn Festival featured, for the first time, local blues bands. In August, local blues shows will include some fantastic traveling acts plus tried-and-true locals at Illinois Central Blues Club’s Blue Monday Jam at the Alamo, and — I hope you’re sitting down — slide-guitar and blues great Sonny Landreth will appear at Old Capitol Blues & BBQ on Aug. 25.
On July 30, the Blue Monday Jam at the Alamo (115 N. Fifth St., 217-523-1455), hosts the JW-Jones Blues Band. Jones is a 26-year-old Canadian, but he plays the blues as he just left some Mississippi crossroads at midnight after signing a binding contract with the devil himself. The band’s latest CD, Kissing in 29 Days, was nominated for 2006 Recording of the Year at the Maple Blues Awards, which are bestowed by the Toronto Blues Society. So far this year Jones and the band have played five European countries, performed on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise in the Caribbean, jammed with Blues Brother Dan Aykroyd, and been featured in Blues Revue magazine, one of the most popular blues periodicals in the world — not bad, considering that the year is barely half over. Jones definitely sits in the “catch him while you can” category, destined for the big time — until you-know-who comes to claim his reward. But life is choices, they say. Speaking of choices, here’s a good one for you blues-festival fans. This weekend, on the grounds of Ingersoll Country Manor, off Route 78 just north of Canton, is a quaint little blues get-together called the Spoon River Blues Festival (309-647-2677). On Saturday, featured headliner Devon Allman’s Honeytribe closes a show that will include local stalwarts Dave Chastain, Steve the Harp and the Blues Deacons, and the Sally Weisenburg Trio. Son of the famed Gregg Allman, Devon grew up near St. Louis and uses area players in Honeytribe. The band’s music, not surprisingly, is Southern jam-band rock, following in the big footsteps of the Allman Brothers. They do say, the apple (or maybe we should say, in the case of the Allmans, the peach) does not fall far from the tree.
Finally let’s all congratulate Juanita and Ralph Noe for their July 7 Nashville, Tenn., performance at the Walk of Fame induction of Kitty Wells and Johnny Wright. Juanita performed for and as Kitty Wells, the original “queen of country music” and singer of “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels,” a 1952 smash hit that answered Hank Thompson’s country classic “The Wild Side of Life.” Ralph acted as Wright, Wells’ husband and mentor; he and Juanita, as Johnny and Kitty, arrived at the event in a gold Rolls-Royce (courtesy of the promoter) and were the hit of the day. According to the lovely Juanita, Kitty smiled and complimented her singing voice. Did we expect anything else? Pretty cool stuff, I’d say.
Contact Tom Irwin at tirwin@illinoistimes.com.
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