The 4th Annual Blues Kitchen Live!

Once again BB's Lawnside BBQ will be the scene of folks padding around in their jammies and slippers, sipping bloody marys and eating breakfast, not a usual serving for BB's. On March 10 KKFI's Junebug will host a Live! edition of his Blues Kitchen blues program. A fundraiser for KKFI Community Radio, the station will do a live remote broadcast from BBs at frequency 90.1FM and at

Past Blues Kitchen Live! broadcasts at Bb's included:

2017 Katy G and the Girls, Lightnin' Malcolm;

2016 Amanda Fish, Fast Johnny, Turkey Bone & Full Count;

2016 Voodoo Fix, Scotty and the Soul Tones;

2015 Millage Gilbert, Lauren Anderson Project, Hudspeth and Taylor;

2015 Wild Women of KC, Nick Schnebelen Band, Shannon and the Rhythm King.

Performing on March 10 are the Taylor Smith Band and the Big Three with John Paul Drum.

Taylor Smith, who's been playing guitar since age 11, moved to KC about 18 months ago from Kinston, North Carolina. He has found that he loves the people here and loves the city. Heavily influenced by Jimi Hendrix, The Allman Brothers, Jeff Beck, Jerry Reed, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, Guthrie Govan, B.B. King, Ravi Shankar, and Sun Ra, as well as a plethora of many others. He is also very much influenced by the Gospel music of the Southland. He represented KCBS in the 2018 IBC in Memphis. His style is rock blues which he uses to showcase his remarkable talent and skill at the guitar.

The Big Three is made up of drummer Allen Fishell, guitarist Bill Dye, and harp player John Paul Drum. The group started out with Washboard Chaz on, well, washboard for percussion. When he left KC for Nawlins', the group pickup up Fishell. They recently released a CD "Tall Tails", a spare, raw and rootsy endeavor.

John Paul Drum has been playing harmonica for close to forty years. It was one of the first instruments he can remember besides the old upright piano the family had in their home. He‘ll tell you he has only been really playing the “Harp” for around thirty years. While searching for a new way to musically express himself in the early eighties he found the music of the old harmonica masters, ie; Little Walter Jacobs and Sonny Boy Williamson II. From that point on he engrossed himself in the blues harmonica and moved to Kansas City.

Allen Fishell (more to come...)

Bill Dye, from a 1999 interview in the Lawrence Journal-World:

Musician Bill Dye, who's been playing the blues for 35 years, says many young jazz players just "ain't ripe yet."

If legendary guitarist Bill Dye ever decides to write his life story, he'll need quite a bit of paper.

Throughout the years, the Kansas City, Mo.-based Dye has shared bills with Willie Dixon, Freddie King, Charlie Burton, Albert King, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, John Mayall and Los Lobos.

He's also jammed with Albert Collins, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eddie Boyd, Sugar Blue, Johnny Copeland, Claude Williams, Magic Slim and the Teardrops, Charlie Walker, Kenneth Threadgill and Asleep at the Wheel.

Dye sat down on a recent afternoon for coffee and an extended discussion about music history, the evolution of guitar playing and the Kerouacian existence of life on the road.

In conversation Dye is a lexicon of musicology, tossing around obscure and popular references from an extended range of genres with the insight and in-depth knowledge of a doctoral professor.

"I don't consider myself an innovator," Dye remarked. "There are very few innovators. There haven't been any in a long time. There's been nobody since Albert King, as far as I'm concerned, that really changed the way blues guitar is played. Personally, I hope to do something where I'm combining influences, and what people are hearing sounds more like me. If people just think I'm doing an impression, then it's not very valid."

Born Dec. 31, 1949, in Hollywood, Calif., Dye's family lived in various Midwest cities before settling in 1962 in Lincoln, Neb. Dye started playing in 1964 after seeing The Beatles on "The Ed Sullivan Show.'

"There was an electricity about them that everybody felt. But because the guitar is applicable to so many kinds of music, it led me to other styles."

The budding musician lived in Lincoln for the next 15 years, expanding his musical vocabulary in a garden variety of local acts. There was the Rubber Band (traditional jug music), the Star Spangled Wranglers (roots country and rockabilly), the Megatones ('50s R&B;) and Home Cookin' (funky organ jazz a la Jimmy Smith).

Dye then moved in 1977 to Austin, Tex., where he spent 2 1/2 years playing with John Emery (progressive country). He briefly played in a commercial outfit in Omaha, Neb., before becoming Luther Allison's guitarist.

"He offered me a job and I left," recalled Dye. "A few days later I was playing at the Uptown Theater in Kansas City opening for Albert King.'

Dye spent more than a year touring the United States and Europe with Allison's band. The guitarist spent the next several years working in various Midwestern acts, relocating to Kansas City in 1982.

Dye's Kansas City resume reads like a history of that local music scene. Ida MacBeth, the Bon Ton Band, BCR, Fuzzy Dice, the Dan Van Doran Band, Little Hatch, Billy Dye's New Rocket Swing, Lee McBee, John Paul's Flying Circus and The Big 3 have all benefited from Dye's nimble touch.

Recently, Dye completed "Goin' Back," a stripped-down acoustic blues album with legendary harmonica player Little Hatch.

Dye talked candidly about the place the blues has in the current musical milieu.

"Blues will never die, but I think it's going to go back underground. The audience for live music in general is decreasing. A lot of the baby boomers are getting old and don't go out as much. They have been core audiences for a lot of blues and R&B; stuff. Blues is also becoming overexposed in popular culture. When you can hear Muddy Waters in a beer commercial during prime time -- on one hand it's wonderful, on the other hand ..."

Dye also is playing with The Big 3, a Kansas City-based band that includes John Paul on harmonica and vocals and Washboard Chaz on washboard and vocals.

"It's a lot of fun. It's a nice mixture of blues and western swing. Not exactly jug band-ish, but somewhat like that. We touch on old jazz things, older blues things, country blues, a few originals."

Dye, who practices four or five hours most days, explained his reasoning for playing with musicians who work in a variety of styles and genres.

"There's a part of me that wants to get away from the blues-rock guitarist thing because there's so many people doing it. Stevie Ray Vaughan inspired a number of second- and third-rate impersonators, many of whom have albums out. I don't get it. Why would you devote that much of your time to sounding that much like another person and building your career on it? I don't get the appeal of it at all.

"On one hand, I think they're real good, but it's still pretty darn derivative," said Dye of the new breed of up-and-coming hotshot guitar slingers and horn blowers. "I hear young jazz players who are wonderful musicians, but it's like they ain't ripe yet. They might sound like a Stanley Turrentine record from 1965, but they're extrapolators, not innovators. I think there was an aesthetic, an imperative, in earlier years in all kinds of popular music to find your own stamp."


Here's what musician Bill Dye had to say about his fellow guitarists:

  • Stevie Ray Vaughan: "One night I jammed with him, four or five songs. I backed him up, actually. He wouldn't let anyone else solo. I basically think he was a nice guy who shouldn't have been drinking and doing coke. It gave him an alter-ego, a Mr. Hyde."

  • Jimi Hendrix: "He was one of the last people to really break down doors on the instrument. In a way he was like Charlie Christian because he used electronics and the sheer sound of it. But there's more to Jimi Hendrix than just the sound and the feedback. The guy had sort of a jazz sensibility playing from a blues base. He was going to record with Gil Evans, and Miles Davis was a friend of his. I think he would have ended up playing with people like that. But he died awful young, so we'll never know."

  • Chuck Berry: "The first guitar solo I ever learned verbatim was 'Johnny B. Goode.' He was certainly one of my earliest influences without a doubt. Both The Rolling Stones and The Beatles paid homage to Chuck Berry in their repertoires. It was the common ground of those two bands."

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