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The last couple of months since the release of Back Around Here has been an exciting time. Back Around Here is on the official Grammy Ballot for nomination in the Best Traditional Blues Album category. The Chicago Blues fest was a blast. Chris James and Patrick Rynn came into town and we performed as part of two Blues on the North Shore productions—“Harp & Soul Festival” and “Three Generations of the Blues.” Both shows were up at SPACE in Evanston and hosted by SiriusXM DJ Bill Wax. The Harp & Soul show was particularly special because the legendary Sam Lay performed with Chris, Patrick and I in a rare appearance on drums. The three of us were Sam’s touring band a long time ago, so this reunion was something memorable and sentimental for us. For the Three Generations show, Chris, Patrick and I backed up Delta blues legend (and labelmate) David “Honeyboy” Edwards. Sugar Blue and Charlie Musselwhite also made guest appearances. Between the two events, a ton of musicians performed: Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Kenny Smith, John Primer, Grady Champion, Bob Stroger, Billy Flynn, Bob Corritore, Johnny Drummer, Homemade Jamz, Dave Specter, and more. Chris, Patrick, and I also performed at the Chicago Blues Festival on the Windy City Stage and at the House of Blues for an Earwig All Stars event celebrating the release of Back Around Here and Chris and Patrick’s new cd Gonna Boogie Anyway.

During the last week in June, I was invited to sit in as a guest artist with the cast of Million Dollar Quartet at the Apollo Theater in Chicago. The show recently won a Tony Award on Broadway with the former Chicago players. The current cast is a group of fantastic actors and musicians. I had a great time performing Rocket 88 and Wild Cat Tamer with them and the crowd and cast seemed to really enjoy themselves. Bassist Chuck Zayas (Jay Perkins), guitarist Gabe Bowling (Carl Perkins), and pianist Lance Lapinsky (Jerry Lee Lewis) came out to some of my shows at House of Blues and BLUES on Halsted. Lance joined us onstage at House of Blues. I am hoping to find a way to put a show together with all of these guys on an off night.

Most recently, I performed at the Taste of Chicago–Best Buy Stage to do some cd promotion. The new cd has been garnering really great reviews and a ton of radio play. One critic wrote: “Stone has delivered what sounds like an instant classic, firmly in a traditional mode yet original and exuberant enough to stand nicely on its own.” The cd debuted on the national Roots Music Charts at #32 and then climbed to #8 the following week, and #2 on the Illinois Roots Music Charts! The album remains in the Top 20! It is all very exciting––especially since I haven’t had a new cd release in 7 years.