Month: October 2018

This is My Church: Saturday Night Gospel Lounge – with Orphan Jon and the Abandoned

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Jon English brings the passion of his life experiences to his lyrics with his album “Abandoned No More” ©2018 Blues Insights LLC/Peggy Stevinson Bair

Appearing at Knuckleheads along their fall Midwest Tour, Orphan Jon and the Abandoned brought some blues church to the people Saturday night at the Carl Butler Gospel Lounge. Jon English, with his blend of formidable “preacha” softened with self-effacing humor, appeared at times to be singing passionately from the pulpit of the church you wish you belonged to – the one that rouses your soul and makes you feel like you deserve to live a happy life. So, be a good person and gyrate your hips while you’re at it.

Unavoidably, given his childhood and longtime adult roots in the evangelical church, the  music influence of Jon English brings his rebellious vibrance to the philosophically simple message in his lyrics and vocal delivery (like, “be nice” and “what goes around, comes around”). As if from the pulpit, he points to his audience with reminders of life’s pitfalls – but also acknowledges the sectarian pleasures of romance and love – something he often says he credits to the relationship with his wife, the love of his life, Stella Carrie English.

Make no mistake – the blues is something that has to be experienced before it can be written – and OJATA delivers a passion that passes along those feelings and experiences.  (see Part One and Part Two of the Orphan Jon story.)

 

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Orphan Jon English delivering his blues lyrics Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018 at Knuckleheads Kansas City. ©2018 Blues Insights LLC/Peggy Stevinson Bair

It’s great to listen to the well-crafted CD (Barry Levenson and Rip Cat Records) – but, if anything can be gleaned from eavesdropping on the comments being made by new fans Saturday night at the Gospel Lounge, those who are witnessing a performance by this band for the first time seem to feel like they’ve struck a vein of gold – the ground floor upstart of a band that is fresh and going places because they have followed their own creative path.

Sowin’ Seeds” is delivered like the best sermon ever with a simple Golden Rule message and a sweet upbeat to make the message stick, ©Orphan Jon and the Abandoned – Lyrics:

Life’s Full Of Its Twists And Turns

Stay In The Kitchen Too Long

And You’re Gonna Get Burned

Everbody Finds Out

Yes They Learn

Evil Brings Back Evil

So You Best Be Concerned

 

 Practice What You Preach

And Preach What You Practice Too

Do Onto Other’s

As You’d Have Them Do Onto You

Too Many Busybodies

Doing What They Do

Spreadin’ Bad Rumors

That Are Never Ever True

Everyone Has A Story To Tell

Everyone Has Their Heaven And Hell

Everyone Has Their Ups And Their Downs

Whatever Goes Out

Comes Back, Comes Back Around

Whatever Goes Out

Comes Back, Comes Back Around

 

So While Your Sowin’ Seeds

Always Keep This In Mind

Good Brings Back Good

In It’s Own Good Time

And As Everyone Has Finally Found

Whatever Goes Out, Goes Out, Goes Out

Comes Back, Comes Back Around

Here, let’s take a listen:

©2017 Orphan Jon and the Abandoned

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Orphan Jon English with Tony Jack Grigsby, bass, Bruce Krupnik on cigar box and Mike Malone on drums, played Knuckleheads’ Gospel Lounge Oct. 13, 2018. 2018 Blues Insights LLC/Peggy Stevinson Bair

The band’s debut album “Abandoned No More” was nominated for a 2018 Blues Blast Magazine Best Debut Album Award and Jon English for a Sean Costello Rising Star Award. The group attended the award ceremony in Rockford, IL at the start of their Midwest tour and got to mingle with some of the best of the best blues musicians for a memorable night of performances. Both awards went to another deserving musician, Heather Newman, but being nominated was an incredible honor, given the field of contenders – not the least of which was another Kansas City artist Patrick “Cobbie” Recob.

Jon English told those in attendance at the Gospel Lounge Saturday night, though, that he reminds himself of an important lesson early on in his blues career – and that’s that the appreciation for any success always goes to the fans, who are the ones to share in the music – especially places like the Gospel Lounge where the distance between the stage and the audience is so small, the musician-to-person distance makes everything personal.

There are still a couple more stops along the way for this Orphan Jon and the Abandoned  tour – Shamrock Lounge, Wichita, Sunday night, Albuquerque and Phoenix. Phoenix is Oct. 18 at the Rhythm Room.

Also, there’s a new album in the works with another collaboration between Orphan Jon’s songwriting and music by Bruce Krupnik. It’s a perfect blues bromance that makes any creative works by this duo fall into that “I can’t wait” category, given the award-worthy reception of “Abandoned No More.”

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Orphan Jon English and musician Bruce Krupnik, songwriting partners in the band Orphan Jon and the Abandoned. 2018 Blues Insights LLC/Peggy Stevinson Bair

Another great surprise was that guitarist Jimmy Zollo has joined OJATA recently, starting with this year’s fall tour. Zollo said he’s thrilled to be working with a great like Bruce Krupnik and looks forward to being with OJATA on future performances. All images below: Jimmy Zollo/Jon English ©2018 Blues Insights/Peggy Stevinson Bair.

 

 

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Blues Blast Award Winners Honored

Blues Blast Magazine awarded a stellar group of musicians with an evening of shared music and honors Sept. 29, 2018 at the Tebala Event Center in Rockford, IL.

Kansas City’s Heather Newman took home two awards, one for New Artist Debut Album and the second one for Sean Costello Rising Star Award.

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Heather Newman, shown here performing July 28, 2018 at Knuckleheads. ©2018 Blues Insights/Peggy Stevinson Bair.

Again, Kansas City well represented here with Danielle Nicole winning the Contemporary Blues Album award for “Cry No More.”

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Danielle Nicole, shown here performing July 11, 2017 at Knuckleheads in Kansas City. ©2017 Blues Insights/Peggy Stevinson Bair.

Walter Trout took home Male Blues Artist and Beth Hart for Female Blues Artist.

Rick Estrin and the Nightcats won for best Blues Band.

Tony Jack Grigsby, bassist for Orphan Jon and the Abandoned (nominated for two awards this year), said attending the awards event was impressive with the level of talent that was there. “I was blown away by the talent – but how many amazing talented women were there!” Grigsby said.

Winners were chosen through the participation of any of the over 36,000 worldwide subscribers to Blues Blast Magazine. The complete list of nominees and winners is listed on the magazine’s website.

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners as these awards are very much from the grass roots of the fans who closely follow blues artists and their shows.