2010 Blues Fest -- Sunday, July 4: Bandshell Print
Music - Mississippi Valley Blues Festival
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Wednesday, 23 June 2010 05:43

The Jimmys, 2 p.m.


The JimmysAs luck would have it, when the Entertainment Committee was looking for a regional band for the opening slot on Sunday at the Fest, across our collective desk came a disc by The Jimmys. Not only was the music rollicking, dance-worthy blues, but the band had horns -- something missing from other acts at the Fest.

The Jimmys are a powerhouse, nine-piece band influenced by different styles from raw Chicago blues to second-line New Orleans funk. With touring experience throughout the U.S. and Europe, this Madison, Wisconsin-based band has garnered international acclaim.

The heart of the band is Jimmy Voegeli, who is probably best known for his keyboard work with the Westside Andy/Mel Ford Band but has been a mainstay on the Wisconsin music scene thanks in large part to his supreme skills on Hammond organ. Voegeli is also a songwriter and arranges the horn charts for the band.

Good vocals, horns, Hammond B-3 -- the blues will be jumpin' early on Sunday, so make sure you're there for the fun! -- Karen McFarland

The Shawn Kellerman Band, 4 p.m.


Shawn KellermanThe Shawn Kellerman Band is the ultimate power trio! Toronto guitar wizard Shawn Kellerman is truly the hardest-playing blues guitarist around! Those words are not exaggeration to those who have seen the band live. Shawn continues to build on his past experiences and push the boundaries of traditional blues into modern territory by adding some soul, funk, and rock influences. The band has become a Quad Cities favorite after all its road visits here, and now we're proud to bring the Shawn Kellerman Band to the 2010 Blues Fest.

According to his MySpace page -- citing as influences Albert King and Albert Collins -- Shawn understood from the beginning that true blues is passed down directly from today's masters to the next generation. So he spent five years in Mississippi and Washington, D.C., living, playing, and touring with such notable blues artists as Mel Brown and Bobby Rush. Shawn was a regular on blues stages playing the Chitlin' Circuit and has performed hundreds of international gigs in more than 20 countries.

These years on the road gave birth to Shawn's trademark stage presence, a high-energy assault on the audience that is as much felt as heard. Over the years Shawn has also earned the status of a highly respected guest artist for numerous live shows and recording sessions. In 2005 Shawn was invited to play at The House of Blues 80th-birthday celebration for B.B. King. Shawn performed on Bobby Rush's 2007 CD Raw that won a Blues Music Award for Best Acoustic CD.

During the past two years he has concentrated on touring with his own trio, The Shawn Kellerman Band, and we are the luckier for that. -- Karen McFarland

Reba Russell Band, 6 p.m.


Reba RussellI first heard of Reba Russell as a backup singer for Jimmy Thackery. Then one time in Memphis, I heard her live! What a great voice she has -- Reba reminds me of Bonnie Bramlett (remember On Tour with Eric Clapton?) and Tracy Nelson -- and what a tight band backing her up! (Wayne Russell, bass; Robert "Nighthawk" Tooms, keyboards and harmonica; Josh Roberts, guitar; and Doug McMinn, drums.) All in the name of Memphis blues -- that soul-inflected, sometimes funky, sometimes a little country brand of roadhouse, hard-drinkin' rhythm and blues.

Art Tipaldi of BluesWax put it this way: "I have been listening to Memphis singer Reba Russell since 1995. My first glimpse of her was on Beale Street at the Black Diamond on a Wednesday night. As she belted out the blues, James Cotton came running in. He and Russell did a half-hour of rockin' blues. Since then, I've been hooked on that voice. And every trip to Memphis means scouring the papers to see if Reba's performing during my short stay."

On the Memphis scene for more than 25 years, Reba has won three Premiere Vocalist Awards from the Memphis chapter of the National Association of Recording Arts & Sciences and released five independent CDs in the past seven years. Reba also works regularly in Memphis studios as a background vocalist. Her credits include working with B.B. King, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Tracy Nelson, Debra Coleman, and Bernard Allison, as well as appearing on U2's Rattle & Hum.

In reading Reba's short bio on her Web site, I can say she loves to party and jam -- like the time on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise with Jimmy Thackery, or in Eureka Springs with Debbie Davies (who will follow Reba on stage at our Fest). I think she'll make something happen at the after-fest showcase, if not before. -- Karen McFarland

Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue Featuring Tommy Castro, Debbie Davies, Magic Dick, & Sista Monica, 8 p.m.





Tommy CastroBand of the Year -- Tommy Castro Band! B.B. King Entertainer of the Year --Tommy Castro! Contemporary Blues Artist of the Year -- Tommy Castro! Contemporary Blues Album of the Year -- Hard Believer!

Come join the big party at the Bandshell and congratulate these 2010 Blues Music Award winners!

The Tommy Castro Band is here in LeClaire Park as the host band of the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Revue, an offshoot of the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise. The Revue has been touring for a number of years now with different artists featured, but always anchoring the gig is the Tommy Castro Band.

A press release from Alligator Records describes Castro's sound: "Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Tommy Castro is famed not only for his hard-hitting, impassioned vocals, soaring guitar work, and his blues-infused, rocking R&B sound, but also for his striking, original songwriting and exhilarating stage show. According to The San Francisco Chronicle, 'Castro navigates seriously funky Southern soul, gritty big-city blues, and scorching rock. ... His silvery guitar licks simultaneously sound familiar and fresh.' The Philadelphia Inquirer declared, 'Castro plays infectious, roaring roadhouse romps with incendiary licks and a touch of New Orleans soul.'"

Debbie DaviesAccording to her Web site, in 1988 Debbie Davies was recruited by Albert Collins to join his band the Icebreakers, and for the next three years she was a featured guitarist performing behind one of the most innovative bluesmen of all time. "I stepped through a door into the real blues world when I joined Albert's band," Davies says. Guitarist Coco Montoya has said, "Debbie is one of the direct links to the originators of this music. She knows what the blues is all about, and you can hear it in the passion of her playing." Harmonica genius Charlie Musselwhite adds, "Debbie is an incredible guitarist who plays with great taste and can cook like mad. Debbie plays from the heart, and her heart has a lot to say. She inspires me."

Magic DickMagic Dick (a.k.a. Richard Salwitz) is best known for his many years as the harmonica man in legendary blues/rock band The J. Geils Band, which he co-founded in 1968. As a member of that group, he toured the world extensively for more than 15 years, headlining stadiums and festivals and releasing 14 successful major-label albums on Warner Bros. and EMI, culminating in the certified-platinum album Freeze Frame, which spent 70 weeks on the national Billboard album charts, including four weeks at number one.

Sista MonicaYou may have heard Sista Monica Parker sing on our Bandshell many years ago. If so, you know she's got a powerful voice and a commanding stage presence, whether she's belting out blues, crying out soul, or shouting out gospel. Her current "ministry" is a gospel choir she started in her hometown of Santa Cruz. Two years ago, the cancer survivor ran a newspaper ad to attract singers who might like to learn techniques of gospel music as it has traditionally been sung in African-American churches, and the choir is still going strong at 50 voices.

Each act in the Revue will perform a 30-minute set, followed at the end by an all-inclusive jam! What a great way to salute America's birthday! -- Karen McFarland

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