Wednesday, August 29, 2007




CHICAGO, IL – Blue Bella Records, “Delivering Classic Chicago Blues in a Whole New Package,” announces the release of four new albums on October 9: a special double-CD from multi-Blues Award nominees Nick Moss & the Flip Tops – Play It ‘Til Tomorrow; the solo debut CD from Flip Tops band member Gerry Hundt – Since Way Back; and new CDs from singer/harmonica player Bill Lupkin – Hard Pill To Swallow, and The Kilborn Alley Blues Band – Tear Chicago Down. All CDs will be distributed nationally by Burnside Distribution.

Fresh from receiving four Blues Music Award nominations and an electrifying live performance at the Blues Foundation’s premiere event in Memphis this past May, Nick Moss & the Flip Tops follow up their 2006 CD, Live at Chan’s, with an amazing two-CD set of Chicago blues showcasing not only the band’s incredible talents as performers and songwriters, but also their tremendous versatility. In addition to Nick Moss on guitar, harmonica and vocals, the group includes Willie Oshawny on keyboards (who also switches over to bass on four tracks and second guitar on another), Gerry Hundt on harp and vocals (who also plays bass, rhythm guitar and mandolin on the album) and Bob Carter on drums.

While staying true to the classic Chicago post-war blues sound, Nick and the band also create new grooves that advance the style to new heights with their creativity and energy.
“That’s how I’ve always been,” says Nick Moss in the album’s liner notes. “All along, I’ve been trying to do my records that way. I live in Chicago and I was taught by the guys that played Chicago blues,” he adds, referring to the time he spent wood-shedding with the likes of Jimmy Rogers, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Jimmy Dawkins and others.

Adding to that authenticity on Play It ‘Til Tomorrow is the addition of special guest Eddie Taylor, Jr., son of the legendary Eddie Taylor, whose guitar work was a major component of all the great recordings from the incomparable Jimmy Reed. Eddie Taylor, Jr. plays second guitar on five cuts of the new album, and also inadvertently gave the CD its title when he continued playing after “Late Night Saint” had ended and voiced the opinion that he could “play that mother f*#ker ’til tomorrow!” (As captured on the “hidden track” at the end of Program One.)

The first disc of the double CD set features the band at their most rollicking Chicago blues sound, with some killer originals wrapped around three cover songs: Floyd Jones’ “Rising Wind,” Luther “Snake” Johnson’s “Woman Don’t Lie” and Lefty Dizz’s “Bad Avenue.” The revelation for many people in this package will be the second disc, which mostly unveils an “unplugged” side of the band that creates a completely different level of blues previously unheard from this band. On that CD, Barrelhouse Chuck guests on piano for one song, and Gerry Hundt demonstrates the prowess on mandolin he further explores on his own album.

Since Way Back is Gerry Hundt’s exploration and salute to the blues mandolin, as exemplified by his three main influences on the instrument: Johnny Young, Yank Rachell and Carl Martin. Even though he only took up the mandolin a few years since his debut CD, Hundt demonstrates an innate feel for the instrument and how it’s best used in the blues idiom. “I feel that there’s a lot of room for expansion of its Chicago blues vocabulary,” says Hundt. “When I play, I really feel like I’m reaching into an untapped vein, and it really grabs me - and the audience too, I think.”

Since Way Back features 11 originals that sit nicely alongside his covers of songs by Otis Spann (“Burning Fire”) and Jimmy Rogers (“You’re the One”).Besides Hundt on electric and acoustic mandolin and vocals, the players are Kilborn Alley’s Josh Stimmel on electric guitar, Bill Lupkin on harmonica and band mates Nick Moss on bass and acoustic guitar, Willie Oshawny on piano and Bob Carter on drums. Barrelhouse Chuck guests on piano on the CD bonus track.

Harp master Bill Lupkin returns for his second Blue Bella album after getting rave reviews for his first label release, Where I Come From (2006). “This guy is one savvy harp player, and you better know that he's got the chops that only experience and faith can give you,” said in its review. “What a CD! This is true talent. If you love harp players, you're gonna get off on this CD. Raw, energetic and faithful to the max, Lupkin pulls it all off with the strength of a winner.”

On Hard Pill To Swallow, Lupkin continues on the blues path set by his last album with another dose of tasty blues harp, soulful singing and 14 original songs that display his blues pedigree like a badge of courage. And Bill is a true blues veteran, slugging it out in the bars and clubs on Chicago’s west, north and south sides back in the day with true geniuses such as Howlin’ Wolf, The Aces (Little Walter’s band) with Johnny Young, Jimmy Rogers, Willie Dixon, Sunnyland Slim and Eddie Taylor. A later trip to California saw him in a band backing the likes of T-Bone Walker, Pee Wee Crayton, Lowell Fulson and Roy Milton.

Backing Lupkin’s harmonica and vocals on Hard Pill To Swallow are Nick Moss on guitar, Gerry Hundt on guitar and mandolin, Tim Wire on keyboards, brother Steve Lupkin on bass and Mark Fornek on drums.

Following in the footsteps of such trailblazers as The Muddy Waters Band and The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, The Kilborn Alley Blues Band continues the tradition with another searing set of music on their new CD, the aptly titled Tear Chicago Down.
A true ensemble blues band consisting of Andrew Duncanson on vocals and guitar, Josh Stimmel on guitar, Joe Asselin on harmonica, Chris Breen on bass and Ed O’Hara on drums. While each of these musicians is strong in their own right, it is when they play together as a band that Kilborn Alley creates a sound greater than the sum of its parts, largely because of the feel they bring to this music.

The band’s first Blue Bella release, last year’s Put It In The Alley, garnered them a Blues Music Award nomination for Best New Artist Debut, marking them as a group to watch. On Tear Chicago Down, The Kilborn Alley Blues Band smokes through a dozen original songs joined by a few guests, including Nick Moss on guitar, Gerry Hundt on organ, and Champaign, Illinois’ notable R&B singer Abraham Johnson (who’s often part of the live Kilborn Alley lineup) on the title track’s vocals.

With these four new October 9 releases on Blue Bella Records, the future of the blues is in great hands.

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