Ten years of hand-to-mouth operation hasn’t dimmed the fire of BellyUp4Blues (www.bellyup4blues.com), an Internet-only blues-rock stream. If its tagline (“The Only Ass-Kicking Blues Rocker”) exaggerates the exclusivity of its musical mission, the description is certainly accurate. This is relentless pounding blues, with hard-baked vocals and scorching guitar solos. We credit BellyUp for our discovery of Ana Popovic, a favorite blues-rock guitarist.
To our ears, there is always a motivational quality to hard-rock blues, the sometimes gloomy lyrics notwithstanding. The RAIN editorial office is starting the week with an invigorating, foot-stomping BellyUp backbeat blast. It goes great with coffee. This morning the playlist has included Tab Benoit, Scott Holt, Bobby Messano, Buddy Whitington, and Little John Chrisley.
BellyUp4Blues is ad-free and listener-supported. There is an air of precariousness about the operation, with monthly donation goals and looming shut-down deadlines. Long-time listeners are rabidly dedicated -- one of them recently posted a 1,500-word exhortation in the site’s blog, admonishing listeners to donate, and characterizing non-givers as “unruly, undeserving, disrespectful children.”
BellyUp is distributed on the web and via an Android app -- a simple radio-like interface with a play button, a stop button, and nothing else. Like the music it plays, BellyUp4Blues gets right down to business.