Listen: Episode 1533

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Outside Omega Music, Dayton, Ohio

JFT outside Omega Music, Dayton, Ohio

This week, Full-Time Blues Radio was recorded on the road, in Dayton, Ohio. During the visit, Johnny Full-Time toured the city’s Oregon District, grabbed lunch at The Trolley Stop, and browsed the records at Omega Music.

Chris Yakopcic

Chris Yakopcic

Dayton has a rather active Blues scene, thanks in part to the Dayton Blues Society. They recently held their International Blues Challenge qualifier and the winners were The SoulFixers and Chris Yakopcic. Chris is releasing a new album this fall, tentatively titled The Next Place I Leave, and this episode features a world premier of the title cut! Learn more about Chris and stay updated on the progress of the album on his official website:

Courtesy Zoho Roots

Courtesy Zoho Roots

The featured selection from inside “Johnny’s Mailbox” is “Upside of the Ground” by the Jay Willie Blues Band. It comes off the new album, Johnny’s Juke Joint, which is available everywhere beginning September 4, 2015 through Zoho Roots.

The album features a wide range of Blues styles, with original songs alongside great covers like “Wooly Bully,” “People Get Ready,” and “Me and the Devil.”. You can watch the official music video for this original song, “Upside of the Ground,” by scrolling down below the playlist. Make sure to visit the official website for tour dates, info and more at

1. Mick Kolassa – Grapes & Greens – Ghosts Of The Riverside Hotel
2. Zac Harmon – Ball and Chain – Right Man Right Now
3. Markus James – Green – Head For The Hills
4. Christian Collin – Player’s Game – Spirit Of The Blues
5. AJ Ghent Band – Dancin’ – Live At Terminal West
6. Chris Yakopcic – The Next Place I Leave – The Next Place I Leave
7. Noah Wotherspoon Band – Rock ‘n Roll Placebo – Mystic Mud
8. Barry Levenson – Ice Cold Kiss – The Visit
9. The McCrary Sisters – By the Mark – Let’s Go
10. Grant Dermody – Ain’t Going Back – Sun Might Shine On Me
11. Dion – The Wanderer – Live At The Bitter End – August 1971
12. Ian Siegal – Hard Times (Come Again No More) – The Picnic Sessions
13. Jay Willie Blues Band – Upside of the Ground – Johnny’s Juke Joint

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Listen: Spiritual Side of the Blues 2015

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Each year, right around Easter, it provides me with the perfect time to produce one of my favorite special episodes: The Spiritual Side of the Blues. The great American music has always walked a fine line between the sacred and the profane; and as we’ll see, the Blues and the Christian faith have an incredible number of parallel themes. In the end, though, it all stems out of the hope for a better tomorrow. This week, that hope comes in the form of spirituals, Gospel-inflected Blues tunes, and prayers through song.

Courtesy McC Records

The featured selection from inside “Johnny’s Mailbox” this week is “That’s Enough” by The McCrary Sisters. The track comes off their brand new album, Let’s Go, which just came out on McC Records.

The McCrary Sisters are the daughters of Rev. Samuel McCrary, a longtime member of The Fairfield Four. They grew up surrounded by music and faith, and performed from an early age in one form or another. Their signature harmonies have been in constant demand by music artists from a wide range in genres and levels of fame. Bob Dylan, Paul Thorn and Mike Farris are just an incredible few of the big names who have sought out these sisters to have them sing on their works.

The McCrary Sisters released their debut album in 2011, and Let’s Go is only their third record. With it, though, they are front and center, crafting an incredible record with producer Buddy Miller. Let’s Go is available now from a variety of sources, and you can find out more information about the women, the music and more on their official website,

Programming Note: I hope you enjoy this week’s episode. For the first time, I’m expanding the Spiritual Side of the Blues programming to two weeks on Full-Time Blues Radio. Next week, I’ll be joined for conversation by Dr. Gary Burnett, author of the new book The Gospel According To The Blues. We’ll discuss the Blues, faith, civil rights and much more. Don’t Miss It! – Johnny Full-Time

1. The McCrary Sisters – Let’s Go – Let’s Go
2. Kelley Hunt – Golden Hour – The Beautiful Bones
3. Neil Barnes – Don’t Let the Devil Ride – Hyde And Seek
4. Toots Lorraine – Wade In The Water – Make It Easy
5. Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar – Take Us Swiftly Home – Send The Nightengale
6. Kirk Davis – Going With the Lord – Blues And Greys
7. Mike Farris – Real Fine Day – Shine For All The People
8. Otis Clay & Johnny Rawls – Hallelujah Lord – Soul Brothers
9. Flora Molton – In the Little Country Town Where I Was Born – I Want To Be Ready To Hear God When He Calls
10. Jeff Jensen – Going Home – Morose Elephant
11. Michael Jerome Brown – Choose Your Seat and Sit Down – Sliding Delta
12. Rory Block – Jesus Is A Mighty Good Leader – Hard Luck Child: A Tribute To Skip James
13. Jorma Kaukonen – Suffer Little Children to Come Unto Me – Ain’t In No Hurry
14. The McCrary Sisters – That’s Enough – Let’s Go

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Review: Paul Thorn – ‘Too Blessed To Be Stressed’

This review was written by “Johnny Full-Time John Luttrell, and it originally appeared in the Kentuckiana Blues Society newsletter, February 2015.

Courtesy Perpetual Obscurity

On Paul Thorn’s last album, 2012’s What The Hell Is Going On, he dealt with some heavy topics on the title cut. For this new release, Too Blessed To Be Stressed, Paul embraces the positivity found in the title track. The disc opens with “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright,” and your toes are instantly tapping. Paul’s cinematic lyrics play through your mind on “Too Blessed to Be Stressed,” as Thorn provides slice of life glimpses into several different American experiences. He hits the warm and fuzzy trifecta with “Everybody Needs Somebody,” singing “…when you make a friend, that’s when everybody wins. A little love can put a smile on your face.” It was at this point in the CD that my wife asked what we were listening to, “I really like this,” she added.

Paul Thorn has always written the truth into his lyrics, whether it’s the honesty of the male figures he grew up watching in a song like 2010’s “Pimps and Preachers,” or the social commentary of American culture in this record’s “Mediocrity Is King.” So, you can believe him when he sings about his continued attempts to “be a good man” in the track “I Backslide On Friday.” It’s important to note the impact of Paul’s songwriting partner, Billy Maddox, who shares credit on all of these songs with Paul, save for one. “Get You A Healin’” was written by Carlo J Ditta.

It’s the songwriting that sets Paul Thorn apart from everybody else. Sure, the arrangements are fantastic, and the playing is top notch; but personally, I come to every new Paul Thorn record with excitement about the words in these songs. Let’s not gloss over the band, though. Give a call to Bill Hinds (guitar, harmonies), Jefferey Perkins (drums), Ralph Friedrichsen (bass, harmonies, co-writing credit on “Everybody Needs Somebody”), and Michael Graham (keys) for the work they did on this album. Paul also renews his relationship with the incredible McCrary Sisters, who provide backing vocals on three tracks. The liner notes include this fun fact: the McCrary Sisters were recorded for this album at sea during the Sandy Beaches Cruise.

The Blues has always been about heartache and pain; but they’ve also been about joy and celebration. With that in mind, Paul Thorn’s album Too Blessed To Be Stressed is worth your time for the 43 minutes of sonic joy that you’ll get listening.

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