This is the time of year when people get the blues. The hustle and bustle is over and post-holiday doldrums set in as cold winds blow and night comes much too early.
The blues are not always a bad thing though. This writer is embracing the blues by revisiting my stack of blues vinyl and CDs, many of which sport the green label of Chicago's own Alligator Records.
Helping blow away winter blues is news of what's forthcoming from Alligator, which just shared a partial listing of artists and titles planned for the coming year. Among the 2019 releases: The Kentucky Headhunters' "Live At The Ramblin' Man Fair," Tommy Castro & The Painkillers' "Killin' It Live", as well as still untitled, new releases from Toronzo Cannon, Coco Montoya, The Cash Box Kings and The Nick Moss Band featuring Dennis Gruenling.
For Local Scene readers unaware of the story behind this powerful, house-rockin' local label, Alligator began as a project by a Chicago blues fan who in 1970 wanted to help shine a light on one of his personal musical heroes, the great Hound Dog Taylor. That fan was Bruce Iglauer. Iglauer scraped up the funds to produce Hound Dog's debut album, pressing up a thousand copies. As Taylor was rediscovered, those records sold quickly, which spawned the birth of what is now the most respected and successful independently-owned blues recording label in the world.
With all the holiday hub-bub going on, readers of this column might have missed the news about the fascinating 40-plus year musical journey story of Alligator Records president Bruce Iglauer and his award-winning stable of talent being published. "Bitten By The Blues: The Alligator Record Story" -- authored by Iglauer and Patrick A. Roberts -- is a passion-fueled and colorfully told tale of the Alligator man and his vision then and now for the blues and the artists he loves.
A tightly written 336 pages, the book is an easy read that now screams for a visionary film maker to adapt it to film. Find the book, Alligator music releases, artist histories, and much more at alligator.com.
• Leroy's Hot Stuff (333 W.U.S. 20) in Porter presents a weekend of live rock with Phantom Zone on Friday at 8 p.m. and The Tommy Thompson Band at 9 p.m. on Saturday. The venue has a Sunday Night Jam starting at 7:30 p.m. hosted by members of the local group, Stealing The Farm. More: leroyshotstuff.com or 219-926-6211.
• The Emporium-Arcade Bar (1366 N. Milwaukee Ave.) in Chicago is where the Chicago acid-synth trio, Protovulcan, hosts an 8 p.m. release party today for its third and newest album "Life is Twigs." The 6-song album was produced by Chicago studio icon Steve Albini. Like the band's name, the sound created by vocalist/keyboardist Will MacLean, drummer Deric Criss and guitarist Nick Ammerman, is a little mysterious and other worldly with plenty of guitar buzz and synths. Sharing tonight's concert bill are Spiral Galaxy and The Velcro Lewis Group. More: facebook.com/Protovulcan.
•On Saturday at The Acorn Theater (107 Generations Drive) in Three Oaks, Michigan, The Chicago Experience will run through a gamut of songs by the Windy City's most accomplished rock group. The repertoire reaches back to early hits off Chicago Transit Authority’s 1968 self-titled album (“Beginnings” and “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?”), through the 1980’s (“Hard To Say I’m Sorry” and “You’re The Inspiration"). Tickets: $30. More: thechicagoexperience.com or www.acorntheater.org.
• Indiana modern rockers James Neary and the Bevy Blue follow up to their first two releases -- "Red" and "Blue" -- with a soon-to-be-released third collection of original tunes. Continuing with their penchant for color themed titles, this latest self-produced set of songs is called "Yellow" and was recorded at Studio 78 in LaPorte. The band hosts an official release concert performance this Friday at the concert club, Vegetable Buddies (129 N. Michigan St.) in South Bend. More: jamesnearyandthebevyblue.com.
• Local talent can rock the Acorn Theater stage at an 8 p.m. "Open Mic Night" scheduled at the Three Oaks, Michigan venue for Jan. 18. The event will be hosted by regional rock band The Erly. Admission and participation is free, but those wanting to perform must pre-register in advance by emailing Sandra@acorntheater.org.
• Regional blues guitarist and jam master Bob Mandarino hosts an all ages "Open Mic" this Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. in the back room of The Record Bin (218 Main St.) in downtown Hobart. Expected to join in making music are session guitarist John Huber of The Spot Studio, bassist Mike Vet (of 3Peace), and others. The event will be broadcast live via "The Vintage Lounge" internet radio channel at RegionRadio.Live. Admission is always free. More: facebook.com/LiveAtTheRecordBin or 219-945-9511.
• At noon Friday, classic rock guitarist Denny Laine guests on 89.1FM-Lakeshore Public Radio's weekly program, "Midwest BEAT with Tom Lounges." Laine was the original lead singer/guitarist of The Moody Blues and later became a member of Paul McCartney & Wings. The second hour of the program will spotlight the music of the 10 local artists comprising "Tom's Top 10 Regional Albums of 2018" featured in today's A&E edition of The Times.
At 7 p.m. on Tuesday, "Midwest BEAT" features the music of Elvis Presley, while spotlighting the upcoming Jan. 18 Elvis Tribute Spectacular Tour stop at The Venue at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond. Lakeshore programs stream live in real time at lakeshorepublicmedia.org.