* Two Charlotteans were among the list of 18 Blues enthusiasts who received The Blues Foundation's 2002 Keeping the Blues Alive (KBA) Award. Jim English, Vice President of the locally based booking agency Intrepid Artists, was recognized in the Manager/Agent category, and Rick Ballew was recognized in the Commercial Radio category for his show, Fox Smokin' Blues, which airs every Sunday from 8-10pm on WRFX 99.7-FM. Since the KBA award announcement, it's rumored that Ballew has received interest in syndicating the show nationally. Congratulations to both fellas!
* In addition to the full service guitar center located inside The Playroom (916 Tuckaseegee Rd.), Cotter Guitars has recently opened a repair station inside the newly opened Guitar Center location at 10500 E. Independence Blvd. Owner Chris Cotter has also added longtime luthier Craig Landau to his staff. For more info, call the shop at 704-566-0802 (Tuckaseegee location) or e-mail email@example.com.
* Brothers Chris and Wes Johnson have decided to call their latest project Hardcore Lounge. The group had performed their first show under the moniker of "The Full Moon Ensemble" since it was an event in celebration of the full moon. The band's next show is scheduled for Wednesday, February 27, at the Double Door Inn.
* Vocalist Lauren Brower of Lauren & Friends has written a book about her experiences with breast cancer. The book is titled Don't Let The Cat Get Your Wig... and Other Things the Oncologist Never Told You, and it's available online at www.ebookstand.com/m/lauren. Copies can also be purchased directly through Brower (firstname.lastname@example.org). Beginning February 28, Lauren & Friends will be performing every Thursday at Mingles.
* The Evening Muse will be closed February 26-28 for renovations. According to co-owner Lea Pritchard, they'll be swapping the locations of the bar and the stage. The new stage will be wider than the previous one, and the new bar will be larger than the one that currently exists. New lighting and a new sound system will also be installed. Pritchard says they also have plans to purchase new tables and chairs in the near future. The Muse is scheduled to reopen just in time for the NoDa Gallery Crawl on Friday, March 1.
* Second Sight recently released a new CD. The band, featuring Kerry Brooks (acoustic bass), Ryan Weaver (piano), Grant Draper (saxophone) and Brian Sullivan (drums), recorded the material last year at Acoustic Barn Studios with engineer Rick Dior. The material was mastered by Bob Rydel. The disc is available at The Record Exchange, Borders and Manifest. The band currently plays every Tuesday at the Rhinoceros Club.
* The trio once known as Violets Of Dawn have changed their name to Rawdawgs. The band has recorded a new CD and it should be released soon. Some of the new material is already available online at www.mp3.com/rawdawgs.
* Swing 1000 is hosting a new "Bebop Jazz Night" every Thursday. The house quartet features Jon Thornton and Gary Marcus. Musicians interested in playing with the band can bring their instrument and enter free of charge or contact Thornton in advance at JThormusic@aol.com.
* UNC-Charlotte's Department of Music is presenting a special jazz concert dedicated to the memory of Charlotte musician Loonis McGlohon, who died on January 26. The concert will feature the UNCC Jazz Ensemble along with several guest artists including trumpeter Ray Alexander, who heads up the horn section for the Four Tops and Temptations. The concert will also be hosted by radio host Barbara Nail from WNSC-FM (88.9). The show is scheduled for 8pm Thursday, February 21, in the university's Rowe Recital Hall. Admission is free. For more info, call 704-687-4469.
* SuperGlide will be holding auditions soon for a lead vocalist. Interested singers can contact Imagine Music Group at 704-596-0342, for more details.
* The members of Hootie & The Blowfish have announced the release of the first compilation album from their newly established label, Handpicked Records, which is based in their hometown of Columbia, SC. Handpicked, Vol. 1 features 19 tracks from local and regional artists including Hobex, Danielle Howle & The Tantrums, Jump Little Children, Don Dixon, King Konga and Sankofa. According to the label's press release, plans are already underway for the second installment. For more details on the label, go to www.handpickedrecords.com.
* The annual Jim Beam Rock Band Search is in full swing again. Each week through October 30, five bands will be selected and featured at www.jimbeammusic.com to compete for the title of "Band of the Week." Visitors to the site will vote for their favorite band, and the band with the most votes wins the title (and a $250 music-related gift certificate). At the end of each month, the Band of the Week who received the most votes will then be named "Band of the Month" (a title that also comes with $1,000 cash). After 10 bands have been named Band of the Month, these bands will be featured on the site and visitors will then select one group as "Band of the Year" (which comes with $10,000 cash, among many other things). Deadline to enter is September 30. Complete details along with entry applications are available at www.jimbeammusic.com. *