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The star of The Blues Brothers movies is on a mission from God to find the next big thing in blues. Dan Aykroyd has just teamed up with his costar Jim Belushi’s widow, in real life, to launch a FREAKING BLUES BROTHERS RECORD LABEL.
Blues Brothers Records will be distributed by Capitol Music Group’s famed Blue Note Records, with Judy Belushi signing on as creative director. And Elwood Blues himself is at the wheel, with a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it’s dark, and he’s wearing sunglasses.
“The recorded music industry today presents huge challenges but also great opportunities,” Aykroyd told Rolling Stone. “Judy and I are excited to partner with the master ear for talent Don Was and Blue Note Records in fulfilling the true ‘Mission From God’ — to find, develop and nurture emerging blues performers.”
Aykroyd has his eye on a number of up-and-coming blues peddlers who’ve already got him shaking his tail feather, including the Homemade Jamz Blues Band, the 24th Street Wailers and Carolina Chocolate Drops.
He’s told Billboard he hopes the label can generate new audiences for blues and vintage R&B, in the same way that 1978’s Briefcase Full of Blues did when it hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200, or that the Blues Brothers flicks did for artists like Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and James Brown.
“A lot has to do with crossover. Jack White and Aerosmith have done blues records,” he said. “After I saw Miley Cyrus on Saturday Night Live, I could hear her doing Lightnin’ Hopkins with that growling voice.”
“…But who’s to say? I always want to find the next Gary Clark Jr.”
Aykroyd, who helped found the iconic House of Blues chain of venues in 1992, has been a steadfast promoter of blues music throughout his illustrious career. As well as performing as his Blues Brothers alter-ego, Elwood Blues, he’s also hosted the syndicated radio showcase Elwood’s BluesMobile for over two decades.
The Blues Brothers label is currently accepting audio and video submissions from prospective artists.
Illinois Nazis need not apply.
Watch: The Blues Brothers & Ray Charles – Shake Your Tail Feather