Fridays at 10pm, Sundays at 7pm

Crossroads is KMUW’s contemporary blues and soul show. Hosted by Chris Heim, the program highlights blues, R&B and soul from the post-war era to the present, from classic recordings to new releases, and from mainstream sounds to a diverse and wide-ranging collection of artists and recordings with roots in the blues and branches in nearly every other musical genre.

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Friday, January 22, and Sunday, January 24

Crossroads continues the January Best of 2020 feature with more show favorites, blues songs that went into the public domain, and songs and albums that are being inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

We’ll also hear music from two of the great voices of soul music for their birthdays – Aaron Neville and Sam Cooke, including music from a 2020 release of Cooke’s Complete Keen Recordings, the soundtrack to One Night in Miami, and a special about Cooke’s life and music in hour two of the show.

Friday, January 15, and Sunday, January 17

In conjunction with our January feature looking back at the past year in music, Crossroads devotes this episode to remembering artists who passed away in 2020. We’ll hear selections from Bill Withers, Lucky Peterson, Salome Bey, Frank Bey, Peter Green, Little Charlie Baty, Little Richard, Robert Parker, and in hour two of the show, a special featuring the late blues pianist and singer Henry Gray.

Friday, January 8, and Sunday, January 10

Crossroads continues the January Best of 2020 feature with music from recently named Arhoolie Award-winner Sugar Pie DeSanto, Grammy nominees Bobby Rush and Ruthie Foster, and favorites from Chickenbone Slim and Rory Block. We’ll also hear the latest from Duke Robillard and Dave Riley with Bob Corritore, and mark birthdays of blues legend Tampa Red, Jimmy Vivino (on a 2020 release from Dion), and Eddy ‘The Chief’ Clearwater (who is also featured in a special in hour two of the show).

  1. Nora Jean Wallace – Blues Woman (Severn)
  2. Various Artists – A Gulf Coast Christmas (Gulf Coast)
  3. Duke Robillard – Blues Bash (Stony Plain)
  4. Kim Wilson – Take Me Back (MC Records)
  5. Shemekia Copeland – Uncivil War (Alligator)
  6. Sonny Green – Found! One Soul Singer (Little Village Foundation)
  7. Kerry Kearney – Tales from the Psychedelta (Highlander)
  8. Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings – Just Dropped in…(Daptone)
  9. Kid Ramos & Bob Corritore – Phoenix Blues Sessions (Vizztone)
  10. Vanessa Collier – Heart on the Line (Phenix Fire)

Best Of 2020

Dec 29, 2020

Friday, January 1 and Sunday, January 3

In this edition of Crossroads, we kick off the January Best of 2020 feature. Throughout the month, we’ll highlight show favorites, other significant titles, tributes to artists who passed in 2020, and more.

Friday, December 25, and Sunday, December 27

Crossroads steps aside for Blues American and R&B Christmas specials.

Friday, December 18 and Sunday, December 20

Crossroads highlights music from December featured artist Odetta, including holiday music she recorded, and a special in hour two from a memorial event that took place after Odetta passed away. Also, new and classic blues, and birthday salutes to Lonnie Brooks, Pee Wee Crayton, Rod Piazza, Eddie ‘Cleanhead’ Vinson, and Keith Richards.

It pretty much goes without saying that if Shemekia Copeland has an album out, it will be on Best of the Year lists, though credit too to Will Kimbrough who co-wrote most of the songs, played guitar, and produced her latest album. We also couldn’t stop playing the 2020 release from soul blues veteran Frank Bey.

There were lots of fine classic and Chicago blues releases in 2020, including sets from Alex Dixon (Willie’s grandson), John Primer & Bob Corritore, Kim Wilson, and, happily back again, Nora Jean Wallace (Brusco).

Another great soul singer, Sonny Green, got his first full album after a decades-long career, while Maceo Parker returned with his first new release, a set of fun and funky favorites, in eight years.

Local favorites Dustin Arbuckle & the Damnations, and Mike Finnigan (with the Phantom Blues Band) did the town proud with their 2020 releases, while Quad Cities favorites, and 2020 International Blues Challenge Semi-Finalists, the Avey Grouws Band showed great promise with their debut release.

Among the acoustic blues offerings of the year were fine sets from Rory Block and Blind Lemon Pledge (who we would include if only for the name). Peter Parcek continues to prove he is among the most inventive of the blues guitarists on the scene today.

Speaking of inventive guitarists, Cindy Cashdollar — who has worked with Asleep at the Wheel, Paul Butterfield, Bob Dylan, Sonny Landreth, Marcia Ball and scores more —released a star-studded set of her own, not strictly blues, but too good not to include.

The cigar box guitar and earth-shaking vocals of Gina Coleman made the Misty Blues Band release a stand out. Solid stuff too this year from veterans Robert Cray, Ronnie Earl, Sugar Ray, and Lloyd Jones. And Savoy Brown, around now for 55 years (!) just keeps on keepin’ on – no surprises, but it’s hard not to like their trademark British blues rock sound.

Here are the Crossroads Top 25 Favorites of 2020 in alphabetical order:

1. Dustin Arbuckle & the Damnations – My Getaway (Dustin Arbuckle)
2. Avey Grouws Band – Devil May Care (Avey Grouws)
3. Frank Bey – All My Dues Are Paid (NOLA Blue)
4. Blind Lemon Pledge – Goin’ Home (Blind Lemon Pledge)
5. Rory Block – Prove It On Me (Stony Plain)
6. Cindy Cashdollar – Waltz for Abilene (Silver Shot)
7. Chickenbone Slim – Sleeper (Lo Fi Mob)
8. Shemekia Copeland – Uncivil War (Alligator)
9. Robert Cray – That’s What I Heard (Nozzle)
10. Alex Dixon – The Real McCoy (Dixon Landing)
11. Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters – Rise Up (Stony Plain)
12. Sonny Green – Found! One Soul Singer (Little Village Foundation)
13. Jimmy Johnson – Every Day of Your Life (Delmark)
14. Lloyd Jones – Tennessee Run (Vizztone)
15. Lisa Mills – The Triangle (BMG)
16. Misty Blues Band – Weed ‘Em & Reap (Misty Blues)
17. New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers – Vol. 1 (Stony Plain)
18. Peter Parcek – Mississippi Suitcase (Lightnin’)
19. Maceo Parker – Soul Food: Cooking with Maceo (The Funk Garage)
20. Phantom Blues Band – Still Cookin’ (Vizztone)
21. John Primer & Bob Corritore – The Gypsy Woman Told Me (Vizztone)
22. Savoy Brown – Ain’t Done Yet (Quarto Valley)
23. Sugar Ray and the Bluetones – Too Far from the Bar (Severn)
24. Nora Jean Wallace – Blues Woman (Severn)
25. Kim Wilson – Take Me Back (M.C. Records)

Friday, December 11 and Sunday, December 13

Crossroads kicks off the December feature marking the 90th birthday of legendary singer and activist Odetta with music from her debut album and from a guest appearance she made with blues harp great James Cotton.
The show also marks birthdays of Lurrie Bell, Lucky Peterson, and Big Mama Thornton (including a special featuring her hour two of the show).
New music this time includes Kim Wilson, Kid Ramos with Bob Corritore, the Nighthawks, Sugar Ray and the Bluetones, Walter Trout, and Duke Robillard.

1. Shemekia Copeland – Uncivil War (Alligator)
2. Kim Wilson – Take Me Back (MC Records)
3. Lloyd Jones – Tennessee Run (Vizztone)
4. Dave Riley & Bob Corritore – Travelin’ the Dirt Road (VizzTone)
5. Maceo Parker – Soul Food (Funk Garage)
6. Kevin Burt – Stone Crazy (Gulf Coast)
7. Sonny Green – Found! One Soul Singer (Little Village Foundation)
8. Peter Parcek – Mississippi Suitcase (Lightnin’)
9. Nora Jean Wallace – Blues Woman (Severn)
10. Misty Blues – Weed ‘Em And Reap (Misty Blues)