Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Wednesday Night Jazz (& Blues) Lab!

Something new I'm doing on Wednesday nights for the next few months in Central Ohio is "The Jazz & Blues Lab," hosted by Vonn Jazz and Blues in Columbus.

Actually, the event is housed at Vonn Jazz. I am hosting this regular weekly event, and I want it to really turn into a proving ground for new musicians, young and old. I don't want it to be just another open mike night, but something that really encourages inspired new musicians to BRING THEIR "A" GAME!

If you want to get involved, get in touch. If you are a fan, in the area and want to catch some great music, I hope you will join us . . .

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Beyond Memphis

This morning, I got the dreaded "Mom can you take me to school?, I missed the bus alarm." The truth is I am not up most mornings. Because I'm an entertainer, my nights are for working and my mornings are for sleeping. I usually start my day around 11:00 a.m.

On the morning of  February 1, 2011, I was up at this time doing the "idiot check" of my baggage. My flight to Memphis was at 9:50, which meant I needed to get to the airport within that suggested two hours before flight-time window. My husband, John, was my chariot and he dropped me off.

I felt good, a little hungry and definitely sleepy. I would catch some zzzs on the plane. We boarded on time, but were 20 minutes late leaving the runway due to de-icing. The weather was getting bad and I had to make my connection in Chicago. The thought of having to make changes in my commute unnerved me, so I said a prayer and within minutes we were off the ground. I exhaled and took a nap.

As we touched down at O'Hare, I braced myself for the cold of Chicago. It was normal for the "Windy City." Once inside, I checked the board, all systems go. My flight's departure status? On time. I breathed a sigh of relief, went to the bathroom, called home and finished a Sudoku puzzle while waiting to board.

All was well, we left on time and now getting to Memphis felt doable. Little did I know, but soon learned, that my flight would be the last to leave Chi-town for the next two days -- the weather was ugly.

After we touched down my mission was to find transportation to my hotel. I stood under the shuttle sign for 10 minutes watching everyone but me get a ride. I asked one attendant, "where is the shuttle to the Crowne Plaza?" the lady told me to go down to the next awning. I waited another 10 minutes, no shuttle. I called the hotel and was told there is no shuttle from the airport. I caught a taxi. It was 62 degrees and very windy. That taxi cost me 30 bucks, the driver was pleasant, but that was an unexpected expense. It was food money, so I was a bit testy when I checked in. I made a comment to the concierge about the hotel not having a shuttle and what it cost me, so Terry gave me a consolation package of two bottles of water and some chocolates.

I dashed to my room, freshened up, and headed to B.B.King's for a late lunch with Anton. We had missed the lunch rush, so there was no waiting to be seated. The emptiness of the room would be a stark contrast to how it was when we hit the stage in the semi-finals.

When I got back to my room this time I noticed something that made the hair on the back on my neck stand up. I hadn't unpacked, yet the closet had clothes hanging in it and there was food everywhere -- tuna ramen noodles, bread, milk in the fridge, peanut butter and jelly. Then I noticed a travel bag that was not mine. "Holy canoli," did someone else have a key to this room? Was this star treatment? WTF? I called the front desk. I was spooked, so they sent someone up to take out the left-over belongings, but I kept the food. I called John to tell him of this strange occurrence and he suggested I ask for another room. I did not.

I showered and instead of going to the mixer with Anton, I decided to turn in early, I was exhausted mentally and physically. The week prior to leaving I had the the worst flu I have had my entire life, my Aunt had died unexpectedly, and I lost seven pounds from being dehydrated by fever and not being able to keep food down.

Still uneasy in the room, I slept on top on the bed in my robe, I was sure the sheets hadn't been changed since the mystery man departed. I would deal with all of that on the morrow. I woke up at nine with a phone call from Gary, our T-shirt sponsor. He was concerned. He had been calling "the guys" and was not getting an answer. The band left Tuesday night in the van. All of the weather reports were bad. I was worried. By the time I got someone, anyone on the phone they were in the hotel lobby. I went down to meet them in my Mom's Mabley outfit, a funky head scarf, the robe I slept in and house shoes. Everyone was accounted for . . .  game on! We set a time to leave for registration and got on the shuttle together headed for Beale Street. be continued

Monday, February 14, 2011

SBB Tonight At Zydeco On High

The Shaun Booker Band is live tonight at Zydeco On High, a great little cajun supper club on South High Street in Columbus, just south of downtown.

The food is flavorful spicy and the music will be hot!

Come see us!

Friday, February 4, 2011

On Stage At B.B. King's Tonight!

Darlings, we will be on stage at B.B. King's Blues Club! Can you believe it,Yeah! The nightclub belonging to the legendary B.B. King!

Its the semi-finals.

The Blues Melting Pot

Blues is an American art form, a music born of hard times, with its origins in the Deep South. But the sound has been adopted by fans -- and musicians -- from across North America, and around the world.

Take a look at some of the hot blues bands, soloists, and youth groups that have travelled to Memphis, the "Blues City," to compete in the 2011 International Blues Challenge.

The Shaun Booker Band is honored to have been chosen by our peers, and to be competing side-by-side in the Beale Street Clubs with such a fantastic group of musicians. Judge us by the company that we keep!

Like they say at the Academy Awards, it's an honor just to have been nominated. But unlike awards for movie performances, we aren't judged on our past performance. That only got us here. We are judged this week by our live performances before hundreds of blues fans filling the clubs here each and every night. There are judges in the audience scoring us. The criteria are complicated, but there for a reason. And I've got to say, so far, WE HAVE HAD IT GOIN' ON!!!

As for where we will finish? We can do this . . .  

Notes From 2011 IBC Memphis, Chapter 2


A second straight night at Club 152 on Beale Street, where the weather is lousy, most of the clubs are cold, but the sound coming out of these venues is smoking HOT! 

Memphis has freezing rain today, as does much of Tennessee and the daytime temperatures have been in the 30s. The music, however, has been great and our band was on fire last night. The judges must have seen that. The audience definitely did!

Resting today, for the sem-finals gig this evening. . . .

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Notes From 2011 IBC Memphis, Chapter 1

MEMPHIS, Tenn -- The Shaun Booker Band kicked tail last night in Round 1 of the International Blues Challenge quarter-finals. Focused and on their game! Shaun and the guys are resting before the Round 2 quarter-final this evening.

Its cold in the Blues City -- it has been in the 20s -- but at least most of the entourage was south of the horrendous ice storm that hit home base back in Columbus.

The competition is intense, and there are bands here from pretty much every corner of the globe. For a look at news coverage of the international nature of the International Blues Challenge, here are some feature stories of interest:

- 2011 IBC schedule of events
- Talent pool reflecting global outreach of IBC
- Bluesmen receive honors
- Arkansas gospel band prays prior to IBC performance
- Notes from the Tennessee Jazz/Blues Society
- Television coverage of the IBC
- Live from Beale Street

Stay tuned....!!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

We Packed 'Em In!!!!!

What a crowd, what love, what energy! WHAT A NIGHT!!!

We packed 'em in at The Venue. My thanks to everyone involved! Now we are packing and hitting the road to Memphis in a couple of days. First night on stage -- Wednesday.

I will update as I can with where the Shaun Booker Band is playing and when, once me and the guys get registered with the IBC folks.

More to come . . . SBD!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Tonight at The Venue Lounge; Then On The Road To Memphis!

We are at the Venue Lounge tonight on East Livingston Avenue in Columbus. Our last stop on the "Memphis Or Bust" tour.

I hope ya'll will come out and see us tonight!

Then, the Shaun Booker Band hits the road . . . . next stop: The International Blues Challenge.

Trailer For WOSU ArtZine Documentary Is THE BOMB!

WOSU television's ArtZine production staff have been following the band around for several weeks now, working on a documentary about our collective journey to Memphis and the International Blues Challenge, and what it takes to get ready. Everything from fundraising to rehearsals.

I gotta say, it is the bomb!  Check it out!

And let me say, I am humbled. We are so psyched for the trip. We can do this....!

Friday, January 28, 2011

25 years ago today

Twenty-five years ago today, I took my last voice lesson from Cornelius, my vocal coach back home. She was happy for me because I was departing for Dayton, Ohio to join a record production company.

My Chevy Citation hatch-back was loaded down with my wardrobe, mostly, and notebooks. I was to drive from Warren to Youngstown to pick up Al Berger and we'd join Craig Robinson. These were my songwriting partners.

 We were young and had our own Y-town sound to bring to Central Ohio. We were from the NE corner of the Buckeye State.  Within a week or so we found a home at L. A. Recording Studios on Livingston Avenue here in the city. It was a better fit than The Roger Troutman sound, and we needed more development.

 I digress. While saying our last goodbyes, Channel 21News came on with the late-breaking interruption. We were stunned standing in her doorway -- the lift-off of the space shuttle Challanger. Our expressions went from great excitement to deep pain, as we watched the shuttle blow-up! It was a deep sadness I will never forget!

My God, there was a teacher and six other Americans lost in an instant! How? Why? What happened?
If we were so moved, I wondered how would her family and students go on? Corn hugged me, and bade me adieu'. She said, "Go on and and make your name in the business!"

In 1986, women didn't just go off into space, and they didn't just decide to take a business college education and opt rather to explore music production. No, Ms.McAuliffe and Ms. Booker setting out to do something that hadn't typically been done by women!

So much has transpired since 1986. We have made great strides in both space exploration and music production. Not to mention the Internet....

However; why is that women are still paid less than men in the same positions? 

Why is the right to vote by Black Americans still an act that must be renewed every seven years ? 

Why CAN'T we make health-care and education affordable for every HUMAN? 

Why are people homeless and hungry when we throw away more food than can be consumed, and have abandoned homes with people living on the street?

Why is  the world watching Ted Williams' every move? 

Why does a mother in Akron go to jail for being guilty of trying to put her children in a better school system.  She was dishonest, but the crime was that she had to stoop to tactics in the first place, and believe me she's not the only one who has.

Twenty five years ago today, I began to prioritize and make my intentions known. I became an activist, rather than a reactionary. I had begun fighting for the "underdog."  I became a WOMAN!

Oh Lord ,why'd they give that girl a voice and a microphone? All the world is a stage!!

I'm on my way to Memphis, and guess what? "I'm the UNDERDOG, a woman in a man's blues world."
The International Blues Challenge and the Space Shuttle Challenger Anniversary, hmmm......
Chrisa McAuliffe lives on regardless, and so will Shaun Booker Dammit, even if we don't return victorious.

"I see an opportunity in every challenge, rather than a challenge in every opportunity"!

-- SBD

Monday, January 24, 2011

We Just Issued A News Release


Qualifies To Compete Against World’s Best Musicians

COLUMBUS – Popular Central Ohio singer/songwriter Shaun Booker and her Shaun Booker Band recently were awarded the title “Best Blues Band” in a local competition pitting her group against musicians from several other states.

As a result, Ms. Booker and company will represent Central Ohio – with the goal a recording contract with Alligator Records – in an international competition the first week of February, the International Blues Challenge. The IBC, founded in 1985 to find the world's best unsigned blues artists, will showcase the cream of the crop of blues bands, as voted by their peers, from around the world.

“More than 130 bands are scheduled to be playing in Memphis, Tenn. the first week in February,” Booker says. “These are the hottest blues bands and ensembles from every corner of the globe. We are absolutely honored to be considered the best of the best, and will represent Central Ohio with pride and an energy you can’t imagine.” The many bands to which she refers -- and their thousands of fans -- will descend on the numerous clubs that line Beale Street in Memphis in just a few weeks.

Adding to the excitement of preparation for the international competition is a documentary, to be titled “Road To Memphis,” and featuring Ms. Booker and her ensemble, being shot by producers from Columbus’ WOSU-TV. Producer Cindy Gaillard and a crew from the television show ArtZine have been following the Shaun Booker Band from performance to performance the past few weeks, gathering video and other material for the documentary.

The IBC was created by the non-profit Blues Foundation. The local event that crowned the Shaun Booker Band “best” in the region, giving it the opportunity to go head-to-head against the very best in the world, was sponsored by the Columbus Blues Alliance.

Visit the Shaun Booker Band website at, and keep up with Ms. Booker’s “Confessions of a Hard Working Blues and Jazz Artist” blog at


Ya gotta keep out there with the promotions......  Coming Soon on the website -- not only will we have DVDs and CDs of the band for sale, but we will have t-shirts also. Saw the first run a few days ago, and they look incredible! See on you the road!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

TONIGHT -- 'Memphis Or Bust' Fundraiser at Roadhouse 66

A very large gathering expected tonight at Roadhouse 66 in Worthington, Ohio, as a fundraiser for our trip to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis next month has been organized. Several acts will be on stage starting around 8:30.

The Shaun Booker Band goes on at 10:30. There will be raffles and other events taking place to help raise $$$!

Bring and your energy, and we will give it right back to you!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Where Do You Get Your 'Blues' From?

Hey y'all, this is Shaun Booker Dammit.! Let me first say that if you're taking time to read this, I LOVE YOU! Since I can't afford a therapist; I think this blogging thing is gonna be good for me.

Ask any artist where their inspiration comes from and most will answer " It can be anything" -- something you smell, see, remember ... whatever humans take in goes somewhere...  My first realization of transmutation came when I sang my first solo at age three. Granted, I had the advantage of a packed house of people who were already of the mind-set  to receive a message. In my grandfathers church I was surrounded by folks who were connected, obviously spiritual, and open to be moved emotionally.

"One has to be open to receive either good or evil," My Mama (maternal grandmother) used to say "the devil can't come in uninvited." I'm not preaching, I'm just saying we can invite or repel. We can choose to act or not. This past week has been one of those weeks in which my emotions have run the gamut and my will tested!

While getting ready for my gig at LaScala this past Saturday, I received one of those phone calls that interrupt your groove. I was doing hair and make-up and learned that one of my favorite Aunts was rushed to the hospital having trouble breathing. She was in critical condition and the doctors didn't know what was wrong.

Aunt Thelma, my deceased mother's sister, is the one whom, although she had five children of her own (one set of twins), still always had something for all of her family members and friends on birthday's Christmas etc... Aunt Thelma was the one that if she kissed your boo-boo it was instantaneously healed. Her smile, tone of voice, and her made-from-scratch, triple-layer chocolate cake would cure whatsoever ailed you.

She was in trouble.  I began praying, and from the upbeat tone in which her daughter, first cousin Tracy, was speaking, I was initially not so alarmed and very hopeful of a positive outcome. My cousin said she was still giving instructions. "Don't let them take my dentures out and, make sure your father takes his meds on time!" We laughed. So much like her, in distress and still thinking about others.Then the second phone call, before I got out the door, I was now informed that she was no longer on oxygen, now it was a ventilator, and she would be transferred to The Cleveland Clinic from our little hospital in Warren Ohio.

I started bawling, I knew I was losing my Aunt, the one whom after my mother passed I could call for parenting questions, bad relationship questions, family-tree questions. The lady who went to Paris for the first time at age 75 to visit Rhonda, the twin daughter, who is a bona fide scientist. This is the aunt who organized a family entourage the year after my mother died to see me perform in Port Clinton. She believed in me, and all of us, which made us not afraid to strive for lofty dreams of such careers as professional singers and scientists.

By the time I got to the gig, my eyes were swollen and red. I was weak, in and out of those crying jags, sad and angry! I felt helpless and hopeless. I was not Shaun Booker Dammit! I was a wounded puppy, I was a scared niece in fetal position. I shared my bewilderment with two band members and one fanfriend, before the next wave of the crying jag hit me. Doreen and I went to the bathroom, five minutes til' show time, to fix my face.

While standing at the mirror trying to get it together, out of a stall came a women with an oxygen tank in tow. She shared with my friend that she was recovering from brain surgery, and it was her 35th birthday.

BINGO! There went my pity party ....

"The show must go on," and it did. We had a great performance. I put everything in the songs I sang.

My Aunt Thelma passed away the next day, and it hurt like hell, but I was prepared.  I'm going to sing at her funeral this coming Saturday, I will be there for my cousins and my surviving aunts and uncles, and I'll drive back for our "Memphis or Bust Benefit!"

Where do I get my blues from?

This is page one ......

Much Love,
Shaun Booker Dammit!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

At Hoggy's Gahanna/New Albany Thursday Night

Me and my guys will be at Hoggy's in the Gahanna/New Albany area this Thursday, Jan. 20. We're on stage from 6-9 pm. Comfort food in a relaxing, laid-back, family atmosphere, if you've never been there before. And, Hoggy's is now featuring entertainment at a number of their stores.

The time for the Shaun Booker Band has come!

We're even featured on the company website, with the photo below. Though it should read the "Shaun Booker Band." I'm just a little girl with a big voice without these guys. We've got a great sound and we have a great time when we know the crowd is enjoying us.

Remember, 6-9 Thursday night.
                        See you there darlings!!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

LIVE From LaScala Its The SBB!

Photos taken just minutes ago of the Shaun Booker Band,  playing LIVE at LaScala Italian Bistro in Dublin, Ohio until midnight tonight.

Blues, Jazz, LaScala TONIGHT!

My Guys!  The guys who with me ARE The Shaun Booker Band -- and yours truly -- will be at LaScala Italian Bistro tonight in Dublin, Ohio.

Its another stop in the "Memphis Or Bust!" tour as we hone our performance and music in preparation for what will be absolutely intense competition early next month at the International Blues Challenge. The crowds at LaScala have always been good to me, and I am looking forward to tonight. Its a great venue with lots of energy!

Let me introduce My Guys: On guitar, Mike Dudley. On bass, Ron "Hendu" Henderson. "On drums, "G." On keys, Bo Dixon. And on trumpet, L.A. Sky. The sound. The mood. They make it!

Together, the Shaun Booker Band creates a musical explosion!

I hope you will come on out and join us tonight. We will be going on stage shortly before 9 pm, AND we will be performing some of my original songs, including "I Am A Wipeout," "Zero Hero," "Tenderly," "Yellow Cross" and "Telephone Man." You'll also hear classic R&B and steamy rock pieces by some one of our favorite artists and songwriters, including Etta James, Otis Redding, B.B. King, Tony Joe White, Francine Reed, and others.

Its gonna be hot! Steamy! And charged with energy!  C O M E    O N    O U T!!!!!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The 'Memphis Or Bust' Benefit Is ON At Roadhouse 66!

The "Memphis Or Bust" benefit is ON baby, at Roadhouse 66!

We are set for Saturday, January 22 at the Roadhouse, which is located on East Wilson Bridge Road in Worthington, Ohio. The time for the show will be announced.

This benefit concert is an effort to raise money to help send the Shaun Booker Band to Memphis to compete in the International Blues Challenge!  As the competitor representing Central Ohio, the Columbus Blues Alliance is involved in the fundraiser.

I really hope to see you all out there! In addition to a modest door fee, the CBA website says there will be other events going on in the place to help raise funds.

It should be a GREAT event!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Where I Come From

I was a little girl, with a big dream.
A little girl with a big voice and a big attitude.
I had to find a way to release that thing, that energy that was bigger than me.
That gift I was given since I was a little girl.
So I found out I could do that.

I was three.

And I got stuck on that thing, that energy.
Seeing the sisters in the church, their hats bobbing.
That little baby, that little baby got a little bit taller.
Pretty much
My voice got a little bit bigger.
My heart is definitely in it. And its always bigger.
I never forget where the power came from.
Where it comes from.
Its in you.
And its in me, too . . .

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Zydeco Fans' Warm Embrace Beats The Cold Outside

A bitter night outside, but a warm, inviting evening with a cozy group at Zydeco on High last night. We tried out a number of our original songs, mixed with some great standards.

After the first set, my husband and I took the opportunity during the break to split some of the great jumbalaya that Miss Mozell Devereaux serves at her place, which opened first week of November. Zydeco's holds a special place in my heart because I was honored to played here the night Miss Mozell opened the doors to a capacity crowd.

A special treat last night was being joined on stage by my song writing partner of some 25 years, Lew Wexler.

My co-writer Lew Wexler, and Shaun Booker Band bassist Ron "Hendu" Henderson, at the mike at right last night at Zydeco On High.

We also had our new CDs and DVDs on hand, and a number of people bought copies. There is no feeling in the world that can compare with knowing that someone thinks enough of your music they want to take you home with them.

I'm taking it easy this afternoon after two long nights on stage, but I think back on last night . . . The crowd was small, but you would never know it by the enthusiasm, energy and love in the room!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Waking Up To A Snowy Morning; Zydeco Tonight

I'm looking outside and it is snowing and cold.

But the mood last night at LaScala was anything but! A warm and inviting bluesy jazzy series of sets early on with the Shaun Booker Band. The cozy lounge feel of that side of the place was perfect for the music and the mood. Then late night we heated things up in the main restaurant/bar area with the Paradise Island Band. You people can dance! 

Thanks to everyone who came out to support both bands, and the dancers. I love the dancers who support us, no matter which band is onstage!  Look for me and the guys in the Shaun Booker Band tonight at Zydeco on High! By the way, if you like great cajun food, Zydeoco's menu is to die for!

Hope to see you there!

Friday, January 7, 2011

BTW, I Won A Contest

I won a contest late last year, and I am headed to Memphis, Tenn. with my band. The guys and I will be there competing against the very best blues groups at the International Blues Challenge. We are representing Central Ohio in the competition!

Its hard for me to self promote (it is difficult to talk about myself and the band that way), but I'll be talking about the IBC more in future posts. We are raising money for the trip with a special fundraising performance on January 22 at Roadhouse 66 in the Worthington area of Columbus. And we are selling performance DVDs and CDs. Details will be coming on my website,

Memphis Or Bust! That's my motto these days. I will be writing about it a little more next week. I've got gigs tonight and tomorrow night and need to get ready for those.

For all of my long time fans, and whoever is new that I might pick up along the way, thanks for visiting my new blog and coming on this journey with me. I'm still figuring it out. But working without a net has been the way I do things. See you online or in a club soon!

LaScala Tonight; Zydeco Tomorrow!

Hey this is last minute -- and my first post on my new blog -- but catch me tonight at LaScala Restaurant in northwest Columbus (4190 W. Dublin-Granville Road). Kicking off, I'll be front and center with the Shaun Booker Band from 6:30 -9 PM. Then later, at 9:30 pm, I will be onstage with the Paradise Island Band until midnight. Something for everyone!

And tomorrow night I will be at Zydeco on High (515 S. High Street, Columbus) with the Shaun Booker Band. Whether your taste runs to Etta James or B.B. King, you will enjoy Saturday evening!

Both nights will be a great time.

Hope to see you there!