NEW YEAR BLUES: It's not often you see women playing the blues--more often than not, women blues artists are vocalists backed by a male band. Make no mistake, though, there's no anatomical requirement for kick-ass blues. Making their first Tucson appearance since competing in the 13th Annual International Blues Showdown in Memphis, where they received second place out of 24 bands from around the world, the all-female Arizona super-blues band Sistah Blue fills up that nice new stage at the Rialto Cabaret, 201 E. Broadway, on Saturday, January 18.

This amazing sextet is Rena Haus on rhythm guitar and vocals, powerhouse Lila Sherman belting it out at the main mike, Rochelle Raya on harmonica, Claire Griese, drummer extraordinaire, Nancy Dalessandro on lead guitar, and Laura Adelia, a.k.a. "Stealth Bass." All members of Sistah Blue are veteran musicians with accomplished musical careers. These gals may be something of a fledgling band, formed only about a year ago following an event at the Rhythm Room in Phoenix showcasing female musicians; but they've already been declared the Best Blues Band in Arizona by winning the Phoenix Blues Society's sixth annual Arizona Blues Showdown last August, which paid the way to the Blues Showdown in Memphis.

Each member brings to the group a variety of influences, from pop and rock to jazz, Latin, salsa, and, of course, true blues, creating the versatility and dexterity underlying the energy and power of their performance. You don't want to miss these Sistahs doing it for themselves. Tickets for the show, which will start around 10 p.m., are $5 at the door, free for Friends of the Rialto. Call 740-0126 for more information.

HOT PICK: And even more blues is yours for a song at the Boondocks, 3306 N. First Ave. Terry O' presents wailing Minneapolis harp man and Blue Loon recording artist R.J. Mischo and his Red Hot Blues Band from 8 p.m. until midnight Sunday, January 19. Playing a blistering blend of rock-a-billy and retro Chicago blues standards on vintage equipment, Mischo and his band are all about authenticity, even with their original material. The band, with some changes in line-up, has been playing together for several years, touring extensively in the States and in Europe. Their large and loyal following stretches from the Midwest on overseas, most notably in Germany. Tickets are $5 at the door. Call 325-4688 or 690-0991 for more information.

LAST NOTES: Los Angeles-based Rattled Roosters perform live at the Empire Café, 61 E. Congress St., at 10 p.m. Tuesday, January 21. They played the House of Blues in L.A. for the King's birthday, and now you can catch their vigorous West Coast rock-a-billy set up close and personal in the Empire's cozy, speakeasy atmosphere. Call 884-9779 for information.

Need some help finding the G-Spot? It's just north of downtown at 314 E. Sixth St., and at 9 p.m. Friday, January 17, two acts will be appearing in this renewed performance space. James Jordan, with help from members of Caliche Con Carne, performs "Goat Songs 2," his second song-cycle chronicling his experiences raising--you guessed it--goats. Slo-Deluxe debut their new stage show, monikered "Buck Owens Off-Ramp of Revenantism," a feature-film length rendering of the travels, psychic and otherwise, of Buck Owens. There's no charge for the show, but donations will be gratefully accepted. Call 624-4194 for more information.

Saturday, January 18, at the Airport Lounge, 20 E. Pennington St., it's the original brass jazz and blues of Crawdaddy-O, all amped up without the amps. Show time is around 10 p.m. and tickets are $2. Call 882-0400 for information.

CD RELEASE PARTIES: San Diego rock-a-billy trio The Mississippi Mudsharks are spending the weekend in the Old Pueblo, shaking the foundations at the 3rd Stone Bar and Grill, 500 N. Fourth Ave., on Friday and Saturday, January 17 and 18, to celebrate the release of Traditional Heavy on Blue Steel Records. Each show is $3 and starts around 10 p.m. Call 628-8844 for more information.

Local favorites Rich Hopkins & Luminarios celebrate the release of El Paso, out on Contingency Records, on Wednesday, January 22, at The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave. Joining them will be Fish Karma and White Chrome Splendor. Tickets are $3 at the door. Call 629-9211 for information. TW

--Lisa Weeks
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