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Watch Bonnie Raitt’s Bluesy Performance of ‘Blame It on Me’ on ‘Colbert’
Musician is currently on tour in support of her recent LP, Just Like That…

on June 15, 2022 No comments
By Emily Zemler

Bonnie Raitt slowed things down with a soulful rendition of her song “Blame It on Me” on The Late Show. The musician and her band gave the track a bluesy, intimate vibe, which was aided by the dim, moody lighting on the late-night show stage.

“Blame It on Me” appears on Raitt’s new album Just Like That…, which dropped in April via Redwing. Raitt recorded the LP in Sausalito, Calif. last summer. The musician produced it herself alongside mixing engineer Ryan Freeland. She tapped a collection of musicians for the songs: bassist James “Hutch” Hutchinson, drummer Ricky Fataar, keyboardist and backing vocalist Glenn Patscha, and guitarist Kenny Greenberg.

“On this record, I wanted to stretch,” Raitt said in a statement. “I always want to find songs that excite me, and what’s different this time is that I’ve tried some styles and topics I haven’t touched on before.”

She added, “I’m really aware of how lucky I am and I feel like it’s my responsibility to get out there and say something fresh and new—for me and for the fans. But I need to have something to say or I won’t put out a record.”

The musician will support the album on tour, with dates scheduled all the way through November. Raitt will receive support from Lucinda Williams, Mavis Staples, and Marc Cohn on select dates.

Source: © Copyright Rolling Stone

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Revealed: 2022 Indie Power Players
Clockwise: Bonnie Raitt, J. Cole, Bad Bunny, Tomorrow X Together, Encanto’s Mirabel Madrigal and Carly Pearce. Illustration by Matthew Hancock

on June 6, 2022 No comments
by Billboard Staff

Across every genre, these are the executives at labels and distributors driving the success of the independent music industry, commanding nearly one-quarter of the U.S. recorded-music market.

Bonnie Raitt
Kathy Kane
Annie Heller-Gutwillig
Co-directors, Redwing Records

In early May, one album by a veteran artist now signed to her own independent label topped three Billboard charts and landed within the top 10 on three other tallies in its debut week.

Bonnie Raitt, who began her career in the 1970s on Warner Bros. Records and reached superstardom in the 1990s on Capitol Records, has recorded for the past decade on her own Redwing Records.

Indie status has worked well for Raitt. Her latest album, Just Like That… arrived at No. 1 on Top Current Album Sales, Americana/Folk Albums and Blues Albums; No. 2 on Top Album Sales; No. 6 on Top Rock Albums; and No. 7 on Independent Albums. (Redwing has partnered with Sub Pop for U.S. physical distribution and ADA Worldwide for global digital and physical distribution outside the United States.)

Raitt’s latest wave of acclaim — including raves from The New York Times, NPR’s Fresh Air and The Wall Street Journal, as well as an attention-grabbing Spotify billboard in Times Square — included her receiving the Icon Award at Billboard’s 2022 Women in Music event in March.

When she was recognized, Raitt gave a shoutout to fellow female artists and musical mentors, plus praised the “mighty core” of women in her organization to whom she was “extremely indebted,” including Redwing Records co-directors Kathy Kane and Annie Heller-Gutwillig.

Raitt, Kane and Heller-Gutwillig are among those honored in this report on Billboard’s 2022 Indie Power Players, including executives at more than 90 companies who have contributed to the success of the independent music sector. All of the honorees were chosen by our editors from among nominations by their companies, industry peers or the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM).

A2IM, which is Billboard’s partner in the Top Independent Albums chart, will present its annual Indie Week conference June 13-16 as a hybrid event, both online and in person, and conclude on its final day with the first live Libera Awards since 2019.

Included among our Indie Power Players are executives from labels and distributors that account for 23.5% of the recorded-music market in the United States, according to 2021 year-end data from Luminate. For this report, record companies are defined as independent by their ownership through entities other than the three major music groups. Distributors, regardless of their corporate ownership, qualify as independent through the repertoire they market.

Aside from Raitt’s mighty core at Redwing Records, our Indie Power Players are behind some of the year’s biggest success stories: executives from Roc Nation and Dreamville for J. Cole, from Rimas Entertainment and The Orchard for Bad Bunny, from BIGHIT MUSIC for BTS and Tomorrow X Together, from Disney Music Group for Encanto (featuring the endearing character Mirabel Madrigal), from Big Machine Label Group for Carly Pearce and from many others.

And as Raitt’s high media profile has shown, indie status is no obstacle to mainstream attention. Just ask Japanese Breakfast founder-frontwoman Michelle Zauner, who is signed to the Dead Oceans label (part of Secretly Group), fresh from her acclaimed May 22 performance on Saturday Night Live.

Lloyd Hummel, executive vp of global commercial strategy at Ingrooves Music Group, the independent distributor owned by Universal Music Group, puts it succinctly: “The independent music sector,” he says, “is thriving in every genre imaginable.”

Source: © Copyright Billboard Pro

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Tribute To Mike Finnigan with very special guests: Bonnie Raitt, Ruthie Foster & Curtis Salgado!

on May 27, 2022 No comments

Phantom Blues Band’s “Blues for Breakfast” Available June 18th, 2022

by Dennis McNally

For all his considerable musical talents, Taj Mahal has always been shrewd. And smart.  In the early 1990s he knew he’d assembled something special in his backing band. He dubbed his secret weapon the Phantom Blues Band.

After helping Taj win two Grammys and gain three other nominations, the band members realized they could stand on their own. The Phantom Blues Band began assembling what would become Out Of The Shadows in 2006, an album that stretched the band and won raves at every turn.

The Phantom Blues Band – drummer Tony Braunagel, bassist/singer Larry Fulcher, guitarist/singer Johnny Lee Schell, saxophonists Joe Sublett, trumpeter Darrell Leonard and keyboardist/singer Mike Finnigan – has been a resilient unit. At various times, its members have backed just about every marquis band you can name, but they continued to support Taj when he needed them.

On its own, Phantom has recorded Out Of The Shadows and Footprints in 2007 for Delta Groove and Inside Out in 2012 and Still Cookin’ in 2020, both for VizzTone.  Album after album features the same musicians, although at one point Les Lovitt replaced Leonard on trumpet.

It’s a rather remarkable testimonial that these guys who are first-call sidemen for people such as Bonnie Raitt, Etta James, Joe Cocker, Robert Cray, Eric Burdon, Bob Marley among others always seem to come back to their nest with the Phantom Blues Band.  Unusual allegiance and true camaraderie come to mind as character traits.

So it was especially painful during the pandemic shadow in 2020 when Finnigan was diagnosed with cancer. Finnigan held his own place in the music industry. Through the years, he played on hundreds of records and thousands of shows with artists as varied as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Crosby, Stills & Nash. He made it through the Still Cookin’ album, but succumbed to his illness in August 2021.

The Phantom Blues Band wasn’t going to let that knock them out. They recruited veteran Jim Pugh on keyboards (Etta James, Robert Cray, Chris Isaak) and immediately set about to produce an album in tribute to the fallen Finnigan.

Schell and Fulcher handle most of the vocals on the new album, which is scheduled for an early summer release on Pugh’s Little Village record label.  The band invited two of its long-time musical companions – Bonnie Raitt and Curtis Salgado – to pitch in on the effort.

As a tribute to the Finnigan, proceeds from the new CD will be donated to the Mike Finnigan School of Music at the Stiefel Theater in Salina, Kansas.  It is surely an honor Finnigan, a native of Kansas, would smile at.

The members of the Phantom Blues Band can take plenty of pride from their aggregated musical experiences, but they know this project is something special.

Of course, Taj Mahal could have probably told you that they could do this long ago. He believed in them first.



The Phantom Blues Band:
Larry Fulcher – bass, vocals (1, 2. 4, 6, 11)
Tony Braunagel – drums, percussion
Johnny Lee Schell – guitar, vocals (1, 3, 6, 7, 9, 12) backing vocals (2, 4, 5, 9)
Joe Sublett- saxophone
Les Lovitt – trumpet
Jim Pugh – piano, organ

With very special guests:
Ruthie Foster – backing vocals (4)
Bonnie Raitt – vocals (7)
Mike Finnigan- vocals & organ (5)
Curtis Salgado – vocals & harmonica (8, 10)
Tony Chin – rhythm guitar (4)
Kelly Finnigan – organ solo (10)
Beth Styne – backing vocals (6)

Information on the music school:

Little Village:

Source: © Copyright Grateful Web

The Phantom Blues Band Honors Departed Keyboard Great Mike Finnigan on ‘Blues for Breakfast’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

By Jim Hynes

June 13, 2022

The Phantom Blues Band is a blues supergroup. Not only have they helped Taj Mahal win two Grammys and gain three other nominations, but they are also the same folks you see on records from Bonnie Raitt, Etta James, Joe Cocker, Robert Cray, Eric Burton, and even Bob Marley, and that’s just for starters. 

One of the key members of the band was the late Mike Finnigan who passed less than a year ago, in August 2021. Finnigan’s resume arguably runs even deeper than his bandmates, having played with Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, and Crosby, Stills, & Nash. Finnigan did play on the Phantom Blues Band’s most recent recording, 2020’s Still Cookin’. It only seems fitting that the band would gather again in tribute to their fallen bandmate and while there are few keyboardists that rival Finnigan, they tapped a great one in Jim Pugh, the driver of all the great Little Village recordings (the label for this one too) and a vital cog in the careers of Robert Cray and Etta James.

Thus, we have Blues for Breakfast featuring drummer Tony Braunagel, bassist/vocalist Larry Fulcher, guitarist/vocalist Johnny Lee Schell, saxophonist Joe Sublett, and trumpeter Les Lovitt. Guests include Bonnie Raitt, Curtis Salgado, Ruthie Foster, and Kelly Finnigan, son of Mike and lead vocalist for the Monophonics. Mike Finnigan plays and sings on “OK, I Admit It.”

The repertoire is a mix of blues and soul tunes from mostly recognizable writers such as Muddy Waters, Sam Cooke, Freddie King. Curtis Mayfield, Little Milton, and more.
They kick off with the rousing soul of Sam and Dave’s “I Take What I Want” as Schell and Fulcher trade verses and brief solos from Sublett, Lovitt, and scorching guitar from Schell.
Fulcher steps up to mic with Schell on harmony for a funky take on the political rallying cry “Get Involved,” penned by George Soule. 
Muddy’s “She’s Into Something” proves a swinging vehicle for the horns with Sublett in honking early fifties R&B style in his take. Schell leads on both vocals and guitar.
Ruthie Foster helps the two vocalists take Curtis Mayfield’s “Move On Up” reggae style. The honoree, Mike Finnigan, sings and plays his B3 on the shuffle, fessing up on “OK, I Admit It,” reminding us of his natural swinging style.
Fulcher and Schell collaborate on the sweet soul tune “Still Be Friends,” soothed by the backing horns and a lyrical solo from Sublett. 

Schell takes the vocal lead on the Freddie King’s strutting “Country Boy,” before Bonnie Raitt enters with a couple of verses before joining Schell in the unison vocal. This collaboration is anything but new as Schell plays on many of Raitt’s records (as did Mike Finnigan).


Curtis Salgado steps in with soulful vocals and blues harp on Sam Cooke’s “Laughing and Clownin’.”  They stretch out on West Coast blues with Jimmy McCracklin’s “Stepping Up in Class,” as Schell rips off a solo following Sublett’s gutsy turn.
Salgado returns for Ike Turner’s “I Know You Don’t Love Me,” making way for Kelly Finnigan following another searing Sublett statement with a stirring organ solo. 
The horns lead into Little Milton’s “That’s What Love Will Make You Do,” featuring Pugh’s B3, Fulcher’s best vocal, and Schell’ stinging lead. 
Pugh pounds the piano barrelhouse style in the closer, Muddy’s “Stuff You Gotta Watch,” a version that arguably swings even harder than the version The Band laid down on their 1993 Jericho.

Each member of the Phantom Blues Band is a first-call sideman. Together they are as formidable as any band that’s ever played the genre as evidenced by the likes of Taj Mahal and Bonnie Raitt. We will dearly miss Mike Finnigan but he couldn’t have asked for a better musical sendoff.

Source: © Copyright Glide Magazine

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