It’s has been a very busy and rewarding year for Little Joe McLerran, Piedmont style, roots blues guitarist from the Tulsa, Oklahoma area. On February 7, 2009, he received First Place honors at the International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis during its 25th annual blues competition, sponsored by the Blues Foundation. Little Joe won center stage at the historic Orpheum Theatre on Beale Street, where the finals took place in the Solo/Duo category.
“Eden Brent said to me after the finals, ‘Winning the IBC will launch your career.’ She was right!” said Little Joe in a recent phone interview. Eden Brent won the IBC event in 2006 and has since collected numerous awards and traveled the world. A Mississippi Delta native, Eden Brent is a masterful blues pianist and vocal stylist she has won awards for both Acoustic Artist of the Year and Acoustic Album of the Year at the recent 2009 Blues Music Awards.
Touring more than a dozen states crowded Little Joe’s calendar following his winning performance in Memphis. Coast to coast blues festivals, which included the Heritage Music Blues Fest in Wheeling, West Virginia to the Waterfront Blues Fest in Portland, OR were among multiple highlights.
In June, a trans-Atlantic jaunt to the Roots n’ Blues Festival in Italy was his first European performance. Staged in the scenic Parma countryside along the Po River, Little Joe made new fans with his brand of roots blues in the land of Parmesan cheese and ham! The month of October was jam-packed. From October 17-24, Little Joe joined cruise line Holland America’s Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise (San Diego, CA to Cabo San Lucas, La Paz and Loreto). An Impressive array of performers on the cruise included Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Mavis Staples, Susan Tedeschi, Elvin Bishop, Buckwheat Zydeco, Tommy Castro, Phantom Blues Band, Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers, Coco Montoya, Shane Dwight, and Lionel Young Band, to name a few…
The day after the conclusion of the cruise, Little Joe performed one set in New York City at Jazz At Lincoln Center on October 25th. He will be returning to The Big Apple on Dec. 2nd for a performance at an intimate jazz club, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.
October 2009 also brought the release of Little Joe McLerran’s newest CD titled Believe I’ll Make a Change, a Tulsa studio recording comprised of thirteen selections, several self-written compositions, along with several fresh arrangements from roots blues that date back to the 20’s and 30’s. The CD is now available for online purchase at CDBaby,
One can only imagine what the future holds for this talented twenty-five year old in the coming years…
“Little Joe plays Piedmont Blues, and since the death of John Cephas [3/4/09], may be the heir to the crown of “the best” around. For a guy that is only 24 years old, this guy oozes with talent. Surely another artist you want to make a point to see.” –Bob Keiser, Blues Blast Writer/Publisher
…”Kicking off the main stage on Saturday was the 2009 International Blues Challenge solo/duet winner, Little Joe Mclerran. Joe and his bass player were so tight they were squeaking. He gave the crowd a clear picture of why he won!” – Simply the Blues Fest in Fort Madison , Iowa
“Perhaps the finest Piedmont Blues player on the face of God’s green earth,” writes Billy Austin, editor of Blues News.
For more information visit Little Joe McLerran’s website – www.LittleJoeBlues.com
Little Joe & Eden Brent photo by R J Whetstone
Believe I’ll Make A Change CD design/Photography by R J Whetstone
(C) 2009-2010 Richard J Whetstone