Monte Adkison, aka “the Blues Stalker,” has been listening to the blues since her teenager days . Along with many other young perople who grew up in the southern United States in the early 60’s, she listened to powerful Nashville, Tennessee WLAC radio deejay “John R’s” popular blues radio show after midnight every night.

As a high school social science teacher in Florida during thirty years, Monte was the recipient of a scholarship in 1995 from the Florida Humanities Council to study blues music at the University of Tampa where she met the late Tampa Bay harmonica, Rock Bottom, and the late “Diamond Teeth” Mary McClain. Amazed that “Diamond Teeth” Mary had been written up in European blues magazines but not in American, she vowed to change that.

Taking a summer pilgrimage to the Delta to study at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, she spent time researching Mary in the Blues Archives and met David Nelson, then editor of Living Blues which is based there on the Ole Miss campus. She asked David if he knew Mary and he said he had seen her perform at the W.C. Handy Awards in Memphis in ’92. When asked if indeed his magazine was true “Living Blues”, if she wrote about Mary performing on her 95th birthday, would he publish it? The answer was yes and Living Blues did and then went on to write an article on Monte’s Blues in the Schools program in a ’97 issue.

Monte began writing a regular column for the Suncoast Blues Society newsletter, the Twelve Bar Rag under the moniker “The Blues Stalker.” She is still writing about talented blues artists who are under appreciated and often ignored by the mainstream press. She also covers other aspects of the blues music industry besides the musicians themselves. Her photographs can be viewed on the Suncoast Blues Society website as well as photographs of the popular annual Tampa Bay Blues Festival.
Monte’s commitment to keeping the blues alive is evident in her articles and photos, and was present in her classroom in Ocala, Florida where every inch of her walls were covered with snapshots and autographed posters of blues musicians that she has met. As she puts it, “It’s my way of sneaking the heritage in -when you’re bored with the lessons and look up on the walls and see Kenny Neal, Eddie Kirkland, or Sista Monica- you might just give a listen later in live and fall in love with the music just like I have. It is another small way of keeping the blues alive”. You can visit her personal website site too.

I am really satisfied and proud to have at “La Hora del Blues” staff, directly from USA, the valuable support, help and collaboration of this great blues expert and lover, known as “The Blues Stalker”. I am sure you will enjoy this page with all her interesting and juicy interviews and photographs, so I can only encourage you to visit it regularly.
Welcome aboard! Monte….

Vicente Zúmel

“Back At It”
by The Blues


Singer/songwriter/guitarist Bill “Wildcat” O’Halloran has been playing and studying the blues for over a half a century. For the past thirty years he has been entertaining audiences in western Massachusetts and recently his band released his 16th album “You Can’t Fall Off The Floor”. This new effort of interesting covers as well as originals is currently charting #4 on the RMR Blues Rock charts.
“Wildcat’s” band backed up such artists as the late Bo Diddley and James Cotton and has opened for Gregg Allman, John Lee Hooker, John Mayall and more recently Duke Robillard. His music has received airplay on over 200 radio stations worldwide. “Wildcat” has also hosted a long-running blues jam every Sunday in Northampton. As things begin to open back up for live music to thrive again after being paused by the pandemic, look for this high energy blues band to get people back on the dance floor.


Blues Stalker: For new fans such as myself, can you trace your evolution as an artist from your first gig in high school fifty years ago and tell us what attracted you to this music?

Wildcat O’Halloran: Like many people my age, I realized that all my favorite “British Invasion” tracks were actually Blues. Investigating that music, which moved me like no other, I learned that those original artists were still touring, and would often need local support acts. Working with artists like James Cotton, John Lee Hooker and Greg Allman took my understanding of this music from the theoretical into the lab, so to speak. And when Cotton drummer Kenny Johnson relocated to Western Mass, I was able to immerse myself further in the art form, while playing alongside one of the all times greats.

B.S.: Your previous release “Deck of Cards” in March of 2020 received great reviews but unfortunately was released right before the Covid lockdown which of course no one could have predicted. I also understand there were some other unusual circumstances surrounding this disc. Care to share?

W.OH.: Well, for starters, the album release party was scheduled for the very day Massachusetts decided to close all the venues! Kathy Peterson, who played bass on that album, went back to her former life as an emergency room doctor for the pandemic crisis, replaced on the new disc by Dave Kendarian.   Speaking of emergencies, drummer Mark Chouinard suffered a near-fatal heart attack during the rehearsals for Deck of Cards, and was in the hospital, unconscious for weeks, right when the studio sessions were scheduled…. fortunately covered by old friend Gil May, since moving them was not an option. That was because, immediately after the scheduled sessions, sax player Emily Duff was to accept a short residency on a cruise ship, intending to return for our summer tour. None of that happened as planned, however, as the ship, which was touring Asia, found itself bereft of customers, and unable to land! For 62 days, the “Ocean Princess” and her shipmates circled aimlessly in the Pacific, eventually making a run past the pirates of the Suez Canal (hence her new nickname “Pirate Queen”), and flying home from Gibraltar. To a tour that was cancelled! A lesser bandleader might have been worried! But the Cat magicked up some outdoor gigs, and began work on a follow up album, mindful of the steadily growing radio support the band was receiving.

B.S.: Your music has been described as “fun”, “entertaining”, “never dull”, “sense of humor” and “party band”. Those adjectives are not normally associated with a blues band. Describe your sound and your approach to modern blues music.

W.OH.: In my humble opinion… After hearing the raw energy that the screaming metal bands routinely feature, and the “in-your-face” language that the rap guys use, we cannot allow blues music to be a tame museum piece… not if we want the music to be as exciting to a 2021 audience as it was, to us, when we first heard it! While emphasizing a deep and thorough understanding of the authentic blues originators, we have always tried to keep the energy content high, and the formulaic elements low. People deep in the blues have no trouble understanding this, nor do audiences, whether deep in the tradition or not.  Occasionally, a “blues society” type person who regards themselves as a “museum curator” has a problem with us…. here in New England, far from the Delta, we sometimes are working so hard to prove our “authenticity” that we stifle originality. Since our audience here in WMASS is so diverse, our tactic is to ignore that tendency…. and play blues dance music, with as much musical (and topical) fun as we can fit in.

B.S.: The current pandemic has certainly changed the paradigm of our approach to live music as well as its delivery How has it affected you personally and do you think the industry and musicians will be able to recover? We have lost so many venues.

W.OH.: We’ve all lost gigs… we’ve all seen favorite venues close… but we may be able to use this as a way to renew the industry… to “build back better”, as Joe Biden would say. Venues will reopen, albeit with new, possibly younger entrepreneurs at the helm. Will the new blood bring some fresh ideas?  We can only hope so. Going straight back to the “same-old-same-old” might be the worst thing for the blues, in the big picture.

B.S.: I would be interested in hearing your thoughts of streaming and the future of how we listen to music. I know that many publicists now are sending out only digital files to DJs for airplay as the cost of postage has skyrocketed and sales of CDs are way down. I am old school and love the art on CDs and a liner note junkie and I know that sales of CDs at gigs have helped many musicians on tour for gas money if nothing else.

W.OH.: It’s easier than ever to record high quality music. It’s easier than ever to send music across the world. It’s also way easier to ignore an email, especially when there’s a barrage from everywhere!! And it’s more and more difficult to get paid for anything… partly because of the increased competition (we’re currently on several charts where our album is “ahead” of Led Zeppelin One, but behind “Are You Experienced”… and, in the blues, “new” albums by dead guys are a normal occurrence), and partly because it’s easy to get people to click a computer key, but hard to get them to reach in their wallet!! We’re fortunate that our audience still buys cds, and are currently so happy to have live music back that they flock to the merch stand like it’s a tip jar!

B.S.: Your original music often is a timely comment of society such as “Facebook U.” I bet you have a wicked sense of humor. How important is the “entertainment” factor in a live performance?

W.OH.: A rocker friend of ours said this, after subbing with us a few times: “A Blues Band can’t play some of those places you play! Now I understand why you work so hard at being an entertainer!” Where we live, the audience is a mix of older fans who are, in varying degrees, blues fans, crossed with college students out to party for the weekend. We can reach both groups, but not by sleepily rolling out older, medium tempo songs all night. When we do get to a dyed-in-the-wool blues club, people are surprised by our energy… but we HAVE to do those things in our area! Besides, telling some funny stories, or letting them play your guitar, makes an audience unfamiliar with you, respond to you as a person… they could get music from a jukebox!

B.S.: You and I both have the same goals. In my teaching career, I wanted the younger generation to appreciate this unique American music. You have said, “I want to bring blues back to college-age folks and younger, to make sure the genre’ doesn’t die”. Do you think that we are accomplishing that?

W.OH.: One of my rocker friends, after subbing for a few gigs with us, said this: “A “Blues band” can’t play all the places you play! And there aren’t enough Blues places anymore to support you! Now I understand why you work so hard at being an entertainer… because a “blues band” can’t play where you play!  As far as the overall health of the blues, I think that’s continually a battle, an up and down struggle… three chords are easy to play, and hard to play well… and BAD blues is our enemy! Fortunately, there are lots of people producing fresh, vibrant music.

B.S.: Do you think that we can convince the younger blues artists that they don’t have to try to be Stevie Ray Vaughan, just use their unique talent to be themselves. It seems so much talent is being wasted on trying to clone someone who has already existed and did it better.

W.OH.: Copying something that has been successful is human nature, though actually works opposite to the intent of the creative life. And as far as Stevie in particular, my personal feeling is that he was brilliantly skillful, AND deeply rooted in the real thing, but, unfortunately, did not have quite the “coat tails” one might have hoped, as far as leading people to other blues artists. Had he lived, he might have specifically addressed that (the posthumous release of his duets with Albert King was, to this observer, a beautiful thing). When I hear somewhat similar skill, but with one tenth of the emotional depth… I change the channel just as fast as the moldy fig curator people!!

B.S.: As a veteran blues musician of 50 years, any thoughts on the good -the bad- and the ugly?

W.OH.: I have a song called “Living by My Wits… and Slowly Starving to Death” which seems appropriate… when I get that statement with the string of tenths of cents from Spotify, it’s hard not to call them “the ugly”… but no one forced me to be a musician (as Bruce Iglauer reminded me when I sent him that song).   The audiences are a delight. And best of all, for me, is when I bounce everything I’ve gleaned in my blues life off a younger player like Emily Duff, and watch where she takes it!!

B.S.: Most importantly, how can fans obtain your latest release? And also, your website and social media information?

W.OH.: CDBaby is back to processing physical cds as well as digital downloads (search under “Wildcat O’Halloran Band”… due to a screw up, if you use “The Wildcat O’Halloran Band”, you’ll get every album EXCEPT the latest)… or try my website:

B.S.: Best of luck and if you get to Florida, I’ll be stalking you!