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The Red Hot Blues Sisters at Alex's

The Red Hot Blues Sisters have emerged on the nation's music scene as a hard-hitting rock and blues act. Last year, the Seattle-based group turned heads at the Washington Blues Society and received awards for Best Band and Best Female Vocalist. RHBS' lead vocalist, Suze Sims, has been nominated again this year, and guitarist Teri Anne Wilson was featured in Guitar Player magazine in late 2007.

"We're just starting to break outside of Seattle," says Blues Sister Wilson. After the release of the band's 2007 CD "Feel the Burn," they toured Europe and the West Coast.

The Blues Sisters' 2008 release, "Red on Blue," has helped make a distinction, Wilson says.

"We used a three-piece horn section on the album," she says. "It really changed our sound, gave it more of a soul blues flavor. All of a sudden we got a little attention."

The Red Hot Blues Sisters will perform at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, March 1, at Alex's Restaurant, 35 N. Main St., Ashland.

"Red on Blue" contains four originals written by Sims and Wilson and six cover tunes, including songs by Willie Dixon, Joe Louis Walker and Andy Razaf.

"Razaf's song is one of the more interesting covers on the album," Wilson says. "It's called 'Mama's Business,' and it was first recorded in 1930 by Harlem Hannah. Razaf is kind of an obscure songwriter, but he has written lyrics to famous songs, including 'Ain't Misbehavin' and 'Honeysuckle Rose.' "

One of Sisters' original tunes on "Red on Blue," "Caffeine," was recorded with a New Orleans-style beat and has been picked up for radio air play. The album was featured this week as a Blues Breaker at TheBluesmobile.com, the official Web site of Elwood Blues and the House of Blues Radio Hour.

"He was a Blues Brother and we're the Blues Sisters," Wilson says. "How cool is that?"

"Red on Blue" features Sims on vocals and percussion, Wilson on guitar and vocals, Patrick McDanel on bass, John Oliver on drums, Greg Lyons on trumpet, Mike Tooley on trombone and Kareem Kandi on saxophone.

The band will pare down to a four-piece for several of the gigs on its new tour, with Sims, Wilson, McDanel and Lyons performing at Alex's. The "Red on Blue" tour will take the Blues Sisters to shows in Monterrey, Sacramento and Mendecino, Calif.

The new album was produced by Sims and Wilson, along with Tom Pfaeffle, on the group's Peace Code Records label.

"Tom has worked with Nirvana and Heart," Wilson says. "We bumped into him through connections in Seattle. He also helped us produce our first album, 'Feel the Burn,' in 2007."

The 2007 album is a collection of original tunes by Sims and Wilson and collaborations with songwriters such as Alice Stuart of the blues band The Formerlys and Bonnie Hayes.

"Hayes wrote 'Loveletter' and 'Have a Heart' for Bonnie Raitt," Wilson says. "We covered her song 'Southern Comfort' and recorded a collaboration with Stuart, 'Headlights,' on our 'Feel the Burn' album."

The albums are available at amazon.com and cdbaby.com.

The Red Hot Blues Sisters formed in 2004, and first performed live at the Highway 99 Blues Club in Seattle, not far from Pike Place Market. The band is headed back to Europe in April and to Switzerland for a blues festival in June. See myspace.com/theredhotz for more information about the band.

There is no cover for the show at Alex's. Call 482-8818.

Teri Anne Wilson and Suze Sims of The Red Hot Blues Sisters. - Photo by Margene