“If California could hook up to Liz, there wouldn’t be any power shortage!”
- Richard Benson, Blues On Stage
For Immediate Release! Liz Mandeville has been named to the List “40 Great Indie Musicians To Watch!” by the Alternative Root Magazine! After a record year in 2015 that saw Liz set personal bests for CD sales and festival performances (despite having a broken right foot!) Liz has spent every spare moment in the studio working on two new releases for the BLUE KITTY MUSIC imprint. Co-writing 12 new songs with 4 different guitarists from around the world of blues, Liz is now producing the CD for BLUE KITTY with a June 1, 2016 release date planned. The disc is to be named “Guitars Gone Wild! Vol 1.” It features guitarist for the late Phil Guy, Dario Lombardo, (Turin Italy) Blues Blast Award Nominee, Rochelle Coba (Miami) Scott Ellison (Tulsa) and Billy Branch alum, Minoru Maruyama (Japan). Doug Demming will be contributing a solo and Liz is not only producing the project she is handling all the vocals! At the same time, Liz is producing a set of INDIE BLUES that touches on Latin, Reggae, Americana and well as the Funk that has become synonymus with today’s Chicago Blues. She’s recruited respected names from the blues, jazz, rock and funk world to contribute to the album’s sound. It’s not your grandfather’s blues record, but Liz Mandeville is not your grandfather’s blues artist!
August 1, 2014, Blue Kitty Music released the long awaited, new, all original CD, Liz Mandeville : Heart ‘O’ Chicago! This CD, the second from Liz’s Blue Kitty Music label, is the 10th time Liz Mandeville has appeared on a CD release. She has released 5 CD’s for Earwig Music and been a guest on two of their other artists works. In addition to the Earwig discs, Liz also appears on The Red Hot Mama’s from Blue Chicago Music.
Heart ‘O’ CHicago’s 11 songs, feature performances from some of Chicago’s finest musicians including Eddie Shaw, Billy Branch, Charlie Love, Joan Gand and Dizzy Bolinski. Liz has surrounded herself with a band of polished professionals to craft a disc that tips it’s hat to Chicago Blues as it was rendered in the last decades of the last century as it simultaneously carries the music solidly into the future.
The CD has been named to Roots Music Report’s Top CD’s of 2015. It was named one of the Top 10 Releases of 2015 by Tom Lounges, NPR BLues DJ writing for GO! Magazine.
Heart ‘O’ Chicago earned Liz TWO JimiAward Nominations! One for Best Song Of The Year for “Why Would A Woman Sing The Blues?” The other for Guitar Heroine for Liz’s furious performance on the same song! Although every song form Heart ‘O’ Chicago had been downloaded more than 1000 times, the ballad, “Quit Me On A Voicemail” from the CD has been downloaded from Spotify more that 150,000 times! I guess somebody had a really broken heart.
No creation is ever the result on one person working alone. Heart ‘O’ Chicago is a collaboration. Liz, working with arranger/bassist, Darryl Wright, Guitarist Minoru Maryama, who is reunited with his former band leader on Billy Branch’s two tracks, creates the solid cake of rhythm, sweet and hot. The whole disc is frosted with the delicious cream of Cincinnati Trumpet master Wade Baker’s 3 part horn section that graces 8 of the 11 tracks. The results are part Memphis/Stax, part Alabama’s Muscle Shoals, and seriously Southside Chicago’s Neo Soul, especially when paired with the blistering tone of veteran blues sax wailer, Eddie Shaw. Liz’s childhood family trips to the American south can be tasted on all these soulful tracks and inform her music and delivery both recorded and live.
If Liz’s previous release, Clarksdale, traced the “Roots to the Fruits” showing Liz’s knowledge of the music’s past, the second disc is a heady brew that comes to the heart of what makes Chicago such a mecca for blues greats, namely the melding of tradition with innovation. This is the city that brought us Chess, Delmark and Alligator Records, that brought us JR.Wells, Blues Alley and seven nights of live music every week of the year. From the traditional lump of Jimmy Reed to the soul of Magic Sam, Liz Mandeville has soaked up all that music and created new forms to express it! And express it she does, both in live performance and on her records. In her own words:
“When I came to Chicago in ’79 and would go out to blues clubs over the next decade as I was starting my career, I’d hear so much great blues, I didn’t know I was witnessing history! Otis Clay, Tyrone Davis, Son Seals and Koko Taylor were among the great artists performing almost every night of the week in various clubs. I’d sit in the back of the club and soak up the blues that was drenched in soul and r&b and that music inspired my own writing and performance. In honor of all those great musicians and bands I produced this album. This one’s for Lefty Diz and Floyd MacDaniels, for J.B Hutto and John Brim, for all the Alberts, the Kings and the Littles.”
As a young blues artist starting out in the 80′s, Liz had the privilege of sharing the stage with all of those artists and more. She’s worked with Sam & Dave, later Sam Moore, Johnny Copeland, David Bromberg, Albert King, Jr. Walker, she has been a house musician at every important blues club in Chicago and has played with every local great from Chico Banks to Michael Coleman, Zora Young to Shemika Copeland to Hollee Maxwell.
April 28th, 2013, Liz Mandeville was honored for her life long commitment to the blues with induction into the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame! Liz, who started her career in 1983 with a string of gigs at the notorious “Deadwood Dave’s Wild West Saloon” on the city’s north side, won the Windy City Blues Society’s 2011 Blues Challenge, with her then partner, dobro player Donna Herula. Liz’s highly engaging shows often end in standing ovations; at the 2011 Lansing Blues Fest they were dancing in the street. They were on their feet in South Carolina at the Crawfish Festival. At the Windy City Blues Society’s Blues Challenge Finals show at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago, Liz armed only with an acoustic guitar, her dynamic voice and stage presence and her trusty washboard, not only got a standing ovation, she won the Blues Challenge that night by unanimous judges decision! All the judges were on their feet too!!
A seasoned pro, she has logged thousands of road miles; since 1983, she’s played hundreds of gigs – and people say she just keeps getting better! Based in Chicago, Liz has led her Band through countless tours, playing venues from New York to Seattle, St. Paul to Key West. She has toured Canada, Mexico, Latvia, France, Belgium, Holland and South Africa. Liz and her band toured Germany several times with label mates Honeyboy Edwards and Louisiana Red, and with Robert Cray. Germany’s ARD TV features Liz in a “Chicago Must See” travel show. Liz set a festival record at the 2008 Chicago Blues Festival, for the most CD’s sold by a single artist. Liz Mandeville has played too many festivals to mention them all, from the Sasquatch Reunion in Saskatchewan Canada, to the Heinekinn Queensday Fest in Maastricht, the Netherlands, from the Pine Island & Sarasota Blues Festivals in Fla to twice headlining the Durban South Africa Blues Fest, where they loved Liz so much they had her back two years in a row and still keep in touch via the internet! Liz has graced stages in 11 countries and on 3 continents. She has toured so much over the years in Canada, her fans there are now bringing their kids to see her high energy shows!
Multi-talented Liz Mandeville is no stranger to hard work! Not content to be ‘just a singer,’ Liz taught herself to play electric and acoustic guitar, washboard and porch-board. She has written and produced hundreds of original songs, resulting in five critically-acclaimed CD’s. Four solo efforts for the Earwig Music Co label, Look At Me(1996) Ready To Cheat (2002) Back In Love Again (2005) Red Top (2008) that established Liz as a versatile song-smith and creative producer. She’s also featured on Earwig’s (1996 release) Aron Burton “Live from Buddy Guys” and Johnny Drummers (2000) “Unleaded Blues.” Liz also recorded two songs for the Blue Chicago Records 1997 release “Red Hot Mamas.”
In the 1990′s, while working as a blues singer by night, Liz earned a BA in Music at Chicago’s premier arts school, Columbia College. At that time The Center For Black Music Research was housed at Columbia. Liz spent many long hours there doing research on blues history, music business and women’s contribution to blues history. She has given fun, interactive Blues Music Workshops based on what she learned in venues as far flung as Thunder Bay Ontario to Durban South Africa. In addition to her rigorous touring and recording schedule, Liz also writes a column for ChicagoBluesGuide.com, and she is a Blues DJ for WNUR-FM.
Clarksdale, her first release for the new Blue Kitty Music label, an idea fostered by Grammy winner Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, dropped in May of 2012. Smith, best known for his work with the late Muddy Waters, contributed five tracks to the new disc. Clarksdale also features a riotous performance by long time friend and Howlin’ Wolf alum, the Legendary Eddie Shaw and includes tracks with Nick Moss and Donna Herula who was Liz’s partner in the IBC challenge.
Liz also produced four critically-lauded CD’s for the Earwig Label showcasing her powerful, rich, versatile voice and her creativity as a producer, arranger, guitarist, and song crafter. Her 2008 CD RED TOP shot to #3 in the Roots Time Radio Charts, and stayed in the top 20 for weeks. Amazingly, “Scratch the Kitty”, one of that CD’s tunes, held the #1 spot for 22 weeks on the Cashbox Charts in 2010, making it one of the most downloaded Blues songs ever! RED TOP, like Liz’s other CD’s, has been included in numerous “Best Of” lists. Chicago’s Tom Marker, (a popular DJ in the nation’s third largest commercial radio market) named Liz’s “Illinois National Guard Blues” #5 in his list of the “WXRT-10 best of 2008.” In 2015, Earwig released yet another CD featuring Liz Mandeville. Recorded live in 2007 at The Taste Entertainment Center on Chicago’s deep South Side, Liz is captured along with Mary Lane, Shirley Johnson and and All Star Band lead by Johnny Drummer. That CD is currently in rotation.
“Liz Mandeville’s music gets me hard!” - Legendary Blues DJ, octagenarian “Sunshine” Sonny Payne said as he hosted Liz at his historic 50th anniversary broadcast during the King Biscuit Fest, 2011.
Liz has been described as a ‘smart, sassy songwriter’ with an ability to ‘build sensitive snapshots….’ The petite redhead was nominated “Songwriter of the Year 2008” by the American Roots Music Association. She won the 2005 USA Songwriting Contest for her song,”He Left It in His Other Pants” and was a finalist in the American Songwriting Contest for her deep Blues song, “Juice Head Man”.
Liz has led her own band longer than any other female musician in Chicago. Starting in 1983, when she started her seminal R&B/Blues band, The Supernaturals, with then husband, guitarist Willie Greeson, Liz has never stopped working. Laughingly calling her band “Liz Mandeville’s Technical School of the Blues” members who’d come up thru the Supernaturals went on to join Jimmy Rogers, Dave Specter, The Mighty Blue Kings and The Legendary Blues Band. When Greeson ultimatley left their band Liz formed The Blue Point’s in the early 90′s and went on to be signed by Earwig Music Co. The Blue Points line-up has gone thru some changes over the years, a one point the rhythm section was made up of Albert King and Albert Collins alumnus, with bassist Aron Burton acting as mentor, guiding Liz through her recording debut with his revue. Aron is also responsible for Liz’s tenure with the Blue Chicago Club which lasted 5 years. With each incarnation of the band bringing another layer of innovative music to turn up the heat their sound runs the gamut of blues styles, from traditional to swing to rock. They’ve wowed crowds with long-running house gigs at Chicago’s oldest blues venues, including B.L.U.E.S., The Kingston Mines, Bill’s Blues, and Blue Chicago, to name a few. In her long and storied career, Liz has played every major blues venue in Chicago.
Liz Mandeville grew up with the arts. Liz’s dad played and sang folk music for his family while taking classes at the Chicago Art Institute on the GI Bill after serving in Korea. He taught his daughter to paint and to sing. His work, always art-related, exposed Liz to galleries, gardens and museums. Her mother, an actress who taught, took young Liz to musicals, plays and concerts, insisting that her daughter get music and dance lessons, even if it meant the family might go without. Their Hi-Fi was always playing, sometimes Stravinsky or Mahalia Jackson, sometimes Ledbelly, Lightnin’ Hopkins, or Hank Williams.
Liz’s dad’s basic training in Louisiana led to lifelong love of New Orleans, so the family took many auto trips through the South, always ending in dad’s favorite city. Those trips exposed young Liz to the many flavors of American Roots music from Appalachian Bluegrass to New Orleans Jazz, Southern Gospel music and all points in between. Liz plays the washboard in a style first made popular in Louisiana and employed in many traditional blues settings, adding that Creole rhythm to her music.
Liz got her first guitar at 16 and started playing professionally soon after. Her guitar style tips its hat to her oldest influences: Mississippi John Hurt, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Muddy Waters mixed with T-Bone’s swing, soul from Curtis Mayfield and the Chicago Blues of Jimmy Reed. With a sense of humor that shines through her impassioned performance, Liz is a polished, professional, and consummate entertainer, not to be missed!