Michael Hepworth


HOLLYWOOD (Perfect Music Today) 2/4/21/–The nominations for the Blues Foundations’  42nd Annual Blues Music Awards are in.  “Blues Comin’ On,” written by Dion (Dimucci) and Mike Aquilina and as performed by Dion with Joe Bonamassa on Dion’s Blues With Friends album. has been nominated as Song of the Year.

We asked Dion to comment on the nomination and the song.  He replied, “I’m honored that ‘Blues Comin’ On’ and Mike and I have received this nomination from the Blues Foundation.  The song was a blast to record as I did that with Joe Bonamassa, the greatest young blues guitarist on the planet.  For ‘Blues Comin’ O,’ his solid playing made me smile through the whole session.  In a way, he sounds like King Curtis and the horn section at the Apollo Theater as if Miles Davis and John Coltrane were in it.  I truly never experienced anything like this in my whole career. I’m very thankful.”

Blues With Friends, released in June of last year and has been a fixture on Billboard’s Blues Chart for 34 weeks, rising to the #1 position numerous times. When the album first started taking shape, he ran “Blues Comin’ On,” past Joe Bonamassa. “It’s funny how a song evolves. For me it usually starts with a few words. In this case it was ‘If I didn’t know better’ I wanted to sing those words, so we wrote a song around them. Joe Bonamassa is a monster and took the song to a whole new level.” Joe would be the first of many of Dion’s Blues With Friends “co-conspirators” and the catalyst to getting the album released through his new Keeping The Blues Alive imprint.

Link to view “Blues Comin’ On” video by Dion featuring Joe Bonamassa:


Dion’s Blues With Friends represents the fulfillment of a lifelong vision. Dion explained, “I wanted an album of songs that were strong and memorable and told stories that were worth telling.” His songwriting efforts were supported by a cadre of great players, each of whom jumped at the chance to collaborate with a music legend they think of in heroic terms. He’s quick to point out just how enduring this creative relationship has been, “The blues have been at the heart of my music since the early 1960s. ‘The Wanderer’ is a twelve-bar blues and I was covering Willie Dixon and Jimmy Reed in my early years at Columbia — much to the dismay of my corporate masters.”  That’s the way it’s long been for the man Lou Reed inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame more than thirty years ago. That night the normally taciturn Reed exalted, “And then there was Dion — whose voice was unlike any other I had heard before — a voice that stood on its own, remarkable and unmistakably from New York. Bronx soul.”

The album has been subject of both a critical and commercial success. The Wall Street Journal noted, “It takes a rare artist to help define the early days of rock ‘n’ roll and to still have the creative vitality to release a star-studded new album in 2020, but Dion DiMucci has done just that.”  American Songwriter specifically acknowledged his prowess as a writer, suggesting  “His songwriting is as inspired and electric as it’s been since he was a kid… He sounds as inspired, if not more, as he has through the decades.”  Oklahoma’s McAlester News-Capital also focused on his songwriting, “With so many timeless blues songs already in existence, could a brand new album of blues songs sustain an entire album? The answer in this case is a resounding ‘Yes!’”  Living Blues summed things up most succinctly, “Dion is working at the top of his game, and this album glows with pure joy.”

As one of the very few first-generation rock ‘n’ rollers still seriously pursing new avenues of expression, Dion’s “Bronx soul” is very much in evidence on Blues With Friends. The songs are blues originals, not “covers” or “standard.”  To tell those stories, Dion recruited help from a few notable friends and admirers.  He thought, “I needed to round up the best guitarists and musicians alive and pick them from every generation, every variation of blues.” And that’s just what he did, surrounding himself with those who feel the blues spirit as he does.

The album’s guests include the cream of the contemporary scene’s blues-rooted slingers besides the aforementioned Joe Bonamassa, including including Jeff Beck, Billy Gibbons, Brian Setzer, Sonny Landreth, Samantha Fish, John Hammond Jr., Joe Louis Walker, Rory Block , Jimmy and Jerry Vivino, vintage guitar guru Joe Menza as well as icons Stevie Van Zandt, Patti Scialfa, Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison and Paul Simon.




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