Northwest Indiana fans who missed Derek Caruso & The Blues Fuse’s first CD release party in April at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago can celebrate much closer to home.
Derek Caruso & The Blues Fuse perform May 6 at Elements Wine War in Valparaiso during the Indiana CD Release Party for “Mine & Theirs,” which will be available for $25.
“I have a large following of people who live in Indiana. I also have a large fan base in Illinois, which is why I organized two of these events,” said said Caruso, vocalist and guitarist for Derek Caruso & The Blues Fuse.
“People can expect to hear all the tracks on the CD. I don’t do them in any particular order or anything like that, but they will hear stuff from the album.
“Mine & Theirs” started out as an EP but has expanded to include six original tracks and six covers, including one of Caruso’s best tracks to play live.
“We joked, calling every show we did ‘Good Booty & BBQ.’ It’s probably one of my favorite songs. It was written by a band from Chicago, not me, but they’re friends of mine. They’re called Howard and the White Boys,” Caruso said.
Officially released on April 29, “Mine & Theirs” was recorded with Jerry Stickle at The Stickle Cell in Crown Point, mastered by Caruso and fellow Hobart resident Tom Lounges, and produced by Gary’s Clarence Stephens.
“It’s my very first CD. It’s quite exhilarating. This is an entirely self-produced business done on a country boy budget because work was very scarce while we were doing this and money was tight,” Caruso said of his work on “Mine & Theirs” for nearly two years during the COVID-19 pandemic. .
“It’s really an experience for me because I recently lost my father (Frank Caruso Jr.). He taught me everything I know about music. Everything about show business, I learned. Everyone who knows me knew my dad and he knew just about everyone here in the northwest Indiana area.
“He saw me record the CD and do some of the mastering. I kept giving him snippets of the record so he could make sure I was on the right track. He kept telling me to take my time doing it. He couldn’t hear the finished product but he gave me the inspiration to do it and definitely pushed me to accomplish it.
Derek Caruso & The Blues Fuse, which formed in November 2019, also features Michigan City’s Nic Byrd on guitar, Gary’s Terry “TJ” Jenkins on organ, Lowell’s Matt Cartwright on bass, Hobart’s Noah Edmaiston on drums and Dan Beaver. of Michigan City on harmonica.
“I must say they are just the most prestigious blues houserock players of the moment. That’s why I went to them to make this CD,” Caruso said.
“I was like, ‘I gotta have this powerful, eclectic group of musicians.’ I said, “That’s what I want to do,” and they all said, “OK, let’s go to the studio and do it. They’re the best.”
Caruso started playing the guitar at the age of 15.
“‘If you have the blues, you can play the blues and lose the blues.’ When I heard Buddy Guy say that, it spoke to me in a way that I knew there was something special about that music,” Caruso said.
“When I discovered the blues I had to pick up a guitar. I never took any lessons, but over the years I went to school watching everyone from Buddy Guy to Lurrie Bell to Donald Kinsey to Lonnie Brooks – all these different heavyweights as far as anyone in Chicago is concerned.
“I went to watch them play live over and over again and understood what they were up to.”
Caruso said he was looking forward to performing at Elements Wine Bar, which is owned by Michelle Prosser and her husband, Michael Donovan.
“People expect a fantastic show in a great venue because it seems like every time I’m at Elements it’s always a full house and they enjoy the blues music there,” Caruso said.
“Mike and Michelle have some of the best, if not the best, live bands of any genre within an 80 mile radius of us.”
Derek Caruso & The Blues Fuse
When: 8-11 p.m. May 6
Or: Elements Wine Bar, 23 Washington Street, Valparaiso
Information: 219-242-8708; facebook.com/dcbfuse
Jessi Virtusio is a freelance journalist for the Post-Tribune.