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“From the first turn of 'Key to the Highway' to finding out how it 'Got To Get Better In A Little While,' the band burned through 13 songs leaving the sparse crowd wanting more and more. The audience just couldn't look away and they were left with a big smile on their collective face.”
“This blues dynamo, hailing from Bloomington, Indiana, was the second act on this cold Friday night and the minute they took the stage, things quickly warmed up. Sad Sam Blues Jam consists of three young women who are as striking as the blues they create. Sad Sam Blues Jam (SSBB) is anchored by sisters Sadie Johnson (guitar and vocals) and Sam Johnson (bass and vocals). On rhythm guitar is Krista Hess and on drums is Matt McCarthy. With a lot of sass and a bit of testosterone, the grind and groove that comes from SSBB is a group effort.”
“MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Highlights? Not enough space available for all of those. Best 10 minutes? That’s easy. That would be sitting front stage at Alfred’s with friends while Bloomington-based Sad Sam Blues Jam rendered a resplendent, soul-stirring rendition of the jazz classic “Soul Serenade” by Curtis Ousley and Luther Dixon. Best I’ve heard? Well, the Allman Brothers Band and Derek Trucks set the bar incredibly high, so let’s just say this fortunate fellow hardly could have been mellower. All of Alfred’s arose in unison to express mutual appreciation of what was a most impressive set of music. It’s no secret I’ve been high on Sad Sam sisters Sadie and Samantha Johnson since first hearing them at Salt Creek Brewery last summer, but Krista Hess continues to endear herself to my ears not only with those nifty guitar riffs, but with her pleasing vocals and songwriting acumen as well. Krista’s debut of “Willow Keeps on Weeping” at Alfred’s was nothing shy of stella”
“ Sad Sam Blues Jam. The name gave no clue of what was to come. As I watched the band unload equipment, I was surprised to see girls in “daisy dukes” and cowboy boots. I figured it was the Dixie Chicks play blues. I’m happy to say that these girls made me eat my words. Sisters Sadie and Sam Johnson (hence the Sad Sam), Krista Hess and Kip Harris kicked some major butt. With Sadie and Krista trading lead guitar and vocal duties as Sam and Kip (the only guy in the band) held down the rhythm section, they literally set fire to everything. Songs included some originals to covers of classics like Howlin’ Wolf’s Killing Floor, Chuck Berry’s Johnnie B. Goode and B.B. King’s The Thrill is Gone. If you were at the IBCs in Memphis this year, you may have caught them at the Blue City Café as part of the Youth Challenge. After talking with them and seeing their unabashed love and excitement for the blues, I humbly apologize for any doubts I had of their musical abilities. This is the”
“Music helps her breathe. Music gives her focus. Music is her family and friends. When she picks up her guitar, plugs into her amp and strums over the strings with her pick, she’s a musician, a rock star in the making.”
“I moseyed on over to the Indy CD & Vinyl stage, where The Sad Sam Blues Band was belting out sultry jazz vocals when I walked in the door. From the back of the store, these ladies all appeared to be proper touring age; early twenties or so. However, as I approached the stage, I realized that these four girls had to be in their early teens. In fact, every one of them, except the male drummer, was a high school student from Bloomington. These young rockers not only had stage presence, but they seriously shredded both blues and jazz in a very veteran manner.”
“The Blue Star Connection mission is to provide access and ownership of musical instruments for children and young adults with cancer and other serious life challenges. To date they have reached hundreds of kids and have donated musical gear to over 20 Children's Hospital Music Therapy programs, as well as several other community programs. Angels of the month are members of The Sad Sam Blues Jam. The Sad Sam Blues Jam is made up of young, talented, highly energetic teenage musicians who have been consistent contributors to the Bloomington music scene in 2011. Beginning with sisters Sam and Sadie at Cafe D'Jango last October, the group had grown to four by Spring 2011. They have played all over Bloomington, including Player's Pub, Max's Place, Cafe D'Jango, FourWinds Marina and The ScenicView Restaurant. They were written up in BLOOM Magazine's 5th Anniversary Edition and played for huge crowds at the Taste of Bloomington, 2011.”
"Future of the Blues Stage BFTT 10 Sunday, July 1, 2012 Last youth set of the day...Sadie and Sam welcomed: Chicago's Kate Moss on guitar... New Orleans's, Jimmy THE Sax Man, Carpenter and the Nighthawks very own, Mike Stutso, on drums Special thank's to Player's Pub in B-Town for teaching the girls how to play an open jam! This was so much fun!!! John Catt and the Grand County Blues Society are doing it right! What a weekend. the lineup was stellar and we are so humbled to have been a small part of such an amazing fest!!!"
“Teen phenom Sadie Johnson plays guitar like a pro By Taylor Smith Special to the H-T March 24, 2013 (This article was written last spring by IU Journalism Grad, Taylor Smith as a final paper. It was just submitted to the HT for print.) Sixteen-year-old Sadie Johnson stood by the edge of the stage at Rhino’s All-Ages Music Club, peeling the foil off a handful of Hershey’s Kisses. She had left her home music studio to come play for a group of kids. All she wanted to do was eat some chocolate, perform and go home. But give her a guitar and she’s in her own world. When she closes her eyes and plays that first note, all she’s thinking about is the music. As she presses the guitar into her side, the sounds spill out a downpour of emotions, matching the intensity of her tightly closed eyelids and the trembling in her slightly rosy cheeks. She could be in front of a group of three professors or a music”
“To the editor: The wonderful story about Sadie Johnson, Bloomington’s next breakout performer, was a delight to read. I have seen her band perform, and she is an amazingly accomplished guitarist. She has a great stage presence and engages everyone listening. I have lived in Bloomington for 43 years. I watched Jeff Gordon race sprint cars at the Bloomington Speedway, when he was a fresh kid from California. He had to sit on an Indy phone book to see over the steering wheel. I got to see John Mellancamp perform here before he became a mountain lion. Sometime in the future, I’ll be able to say that I saw Sadie performing in a bar, so young that I could only buy her a soda and not a beer. We are all very lucky that Bloomington is such a great place to witness emerging talent. By the way, Player’s Pub is known affectionately as the Wrinkle Room. EDDIE RELICK, Bloomington”
"The Sad Sam Blues Jam is a pleasant surprise from the minute they take the stage. When the blues riffs roll off the fingers of All-American young female guitarists, it's a welcome wonder. And when these lovely musicians croon lyrics, you can scarcely believe your ears. In a field dominated by craggy old guys, here are Sadie and Sam breathing new life into the venerable genres of jazz and blues. Catch them while you can, cause they're gonna be BIG!"
“Sadie Johnson has been playing the guitar since she was 6 years old. Nine years later, she has become only the second freshman guitarist in Bloomington High School North history to audition into the Advanced Jazz Band, and recently she was selected for the all-state jazz band. She’s also making a name for herself as a regular at a number of area venues where she performs with her group the Sad Sam Blues Jam. “I’m a hardcore musician,” she says. “This is what I’m going to be doing, no matter how long I live, the guitar is going to be in my hand.” In The Beginning She was introduced to the guitar after her older sister Sam had lost interest in the 3/4-size acoustic she received one Christmas. Having a background in piano, Sadie was able to pick out basic chords on the guitar. But the blues is what spoke to her from the beginning. With the help of her teacher Joe Lisinicchia, she learned basic blues chords and simple tunes. She also became comfortable improvising solos.”