2012 Blues Fest – Saturday, June 30: Bandshell Print
Music - Mississippi Valley Blues Festival
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Wednesday, 20 June 2012 05:49

Terry Quiett Band, 2 p.m.

As his Web site (TerryQuiettBand.com) says: “Terry Quiett explodes every power-trio cliché” by performing striking original material, from haunting Delta blues and sophisticated jazzy swing to rock-flavored riffs, all featuring his stunning guitar technique and soulful vocals. Hal Reed brought the Terry Quiett Band to The Muddy Waters, so we found out firsthand that his Web site doesn’t exaggerate.

Terry Quiett comes from the rural plains of Kansas and has been evolving in the past decade from a solo acoustic singer/songwriter to the leader of a band featuring bassist Aaron Underwood and drummer Rodney Baker. His latest release, Just My Luck – produced by the legendary Jim Gaines – is an outing of highly charged blues-based music.

Since 2006, the Terry Quiett Band has logged 200,000-plus miles and played close to 300 shows a year across America’s Heartland. Along the way, the Terry Quiett Band has shared the stage with international guitar legends including Jonny Lang, Robert Cray, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Walter Trout, Robin Trower, Tab Benoit, Eric Sardinas, Albert Cummings, Robert Randolph, and Bernard Allison.

This is a great way to open day two of the festival! The Terry Quiett Band is a sleeper act whose secret can’t be kept quiet once you hear them. – Kristy Bennett

Ray Fuller & the Bluesrockers, 4 p.m.

Guitarist Ray Fuller was born on December 19, 1954, in Columbus, Ohio. His band includes longtime drummer Mark Ward (who was formerly with Terry Davidson & the Gears), pianist Keith Blair (who was one of the finalists at the 2003 International Blues Challenge in Memphis), and bassist Manny Manuel (who has spent many years touring with Patrick McLaughlin and also Hot Rod & the Blues Devilles). Living Blues magazine has said this about Ray Fuller & the Bluesrockers: “Their blues are laced with healthy doses of rockabilly and rock-and-roll, and Fuller is out to stake a claim as one of the best singers of his genre.”

Muddy Waters – after seeing Ray’s band as the opening act and his blazing steel guitar – exclaimed for all to hear: “That was some hot slide, boy! I could smell the smoke backstage!” James Cotton, after seeing another performance of Ray Fuller & the Bluesrockers, shook Ray’s hand and proclaimed, “Finally I’ve met somebody as wild and crazy as I am!” John Lee Hooker was so impressed with the band and its performance that he took Ray Fuller & the Bluesrockers and his own band out to dinner and picked up the tab. As it says on the group’s Web site (RayFuller.com), these opportunities to hang out and learn from the masters were not wasted on a young Ray when he was starting out. He paid close attention to every pearl of wisdom and every nasty riff and blues lick shown to him. Ray Fuller & The Bluesrockers released Somethin’ Shakin’ in 1985, Damn Guitars in 1987, Twist of Fate in 1999, Live Rockin’ the Blues in 2004, and Piece of Work in 2011. Each year, the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival Entertainment Committee gets hundreds of solicitations to play. Ray Fuller & the Bluesrockers were one of the few acts that made the cut all the way to the bandshell. Come hear why! – Steve Heston

Preston Shannon, 6 p.m.

I first heard Preston Shannon in a club on Beale Street in Memphis, and was impressed enough to bring his name up to the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival entertainment committee for more than three years. “The King of Beale Street” is a singer who sounds like Otis Redding and plays guitar in a style influenced by Albert King, Little Milton, and T-Bone Walker. Ray Stiles at MNBlues.com describes Preston’s sound this way: “His raspy, forceful, and expressive vocals simmer and soar as he soothes, grooves, and moves like the best of the legendary Memphis soul singers. Shannon is a master of vocal control and phrasing and can switch from deep-rooted soul to down-and-dirty blues easier than anyone.”

Born in Olive Branch, Mississippi, Preston’s family moved to Memphis when he was eight. There he heard and fell in love with the blues. He began playing around town at age 18, and for the next 20 years played in a succession of Memphis bands on weekends while working in a hardware store by day. A break came in 1987 when he toured with soul-blues singer Shirley Brown, and he gained the confidence that he could do this on his own. In 1991, he put together his own band, and soon thereafter he was “discovered” in a Beale Street club by producer/keyboardist Ron Levy, who connected Preston with Rounder Records.

Preston recorded three albums for the Rounder Bullseye Blues subsidiary: Break the Ice (1994), Midnight in Memphis (1996), and All in Time (1999). Preston was nominated for three Grammy awards for All in Time, which was produced by and includes songs by Willie Mitchell (a collaborator with Al Green and Otis Clay). Just recently, Preston’s version of “Honky Tonk” was picked up by a choreographer for a global flash-mob project called Shuffle Boogie Soul; it’s soul line-dancing. Don’t miss this chance to do some soul line-dancing of your own to Preston Shannon’s set!

For more information, visit PrestonShannon.com. For an interview with Shannon, click here. – Karen McFarland

Guitar Shorty, 8 p.m.

Credited with influencing both Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Guy, Guitar Shorty (born David Kearney in 1939) has been electrifying audiences for five decades with his supercharged live shows and his incendiary recordings. Shorty strikes with his blistering, physical guitar-playing and his fierce vocals, connecting directly with body and soul. What really sets Shorty apart is his unpredictable, off-the-wall guitar-playing. He reaches for sounds, riffs, and licks that other blues players wouldn’t even think of. A reviewer on Amazon.com says his guitar work “sounds like a caged tiger before feeding time. His molten guitar pours his psychedelicized solos like lava over anything in his path.” The Chicago Reader declares: “Guitar Shorty is a battle-scarred hard-ass. He slices off his phrases and notes with homicidal fury. He is among the highest-energy blues entertainers on the scene.”

Through the years, Shorty has performed with blues and R&B luminaries including Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, B.B. King, Guitar Slim, and T-Bone Walker. He started playing with these legends while still in his teens and recorded a handful of singles for a variety of labels as well as an obscure LP during the first 30 years of his career. After decades of paying his dues (like so many unheralded American bluesmen), it took a tour of England to establish Shorty’s fame in his home country. His recordings since then all received critical acclaim, and his renowned live performances have kept him constantly in demand all over the world. His 2004 Alligator Records debut, Watch Your Back, was his best-received, best-selling album. His 2006 follow-up, We the People, won the Blues Music Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album of the Year.

Watch Your Back and We the People both charted on Billboard’s Top Blues Albums – at numbers 11 and 12, respectively. Billboard said of We the People: “It’s difficult to imagine that he ever tracks a better album than this one.” – from GuitarShorty.com

Coco Montoya, 10 p.m.

Coco Montoya was born in 1951 in Santa Monica, California. He grew up as a drummer raised on rock-and-roll but soon realized his calling was to be a great blues guitarist. He said that after seeing Albert King in 1969, the music went right into his soul. By the mid-1970s, Coco was playing drums in several local rock-and-roll bands and then found himself playing drums in Albert Collins’ band. After the shows, Albert took Coco under his wing, and they started trading licks on the guitar for hours on end in motel rooms. It wasn’t long before Coco and Albert were showing off their guitar-playing on stage together. Coco stayed with Albert Collins for five years.

Soon Coco became a member of John Mayall’s band the Bluesbreakers, taking over for such guitar legends as Eric Clapton, Peter Green, and Mick Taylor – who had all held that spot in the past. He spent 10 years with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers.

Coco finally started off on his own in 1995 and has released seven CDs – including the Bling Pig album Gotta Mind to Travel, which won an award for Best New Blues Artist at the 1996 W.C. Handy Awards. His second album, Ya Think I’d Know Better, was followed by 1997’s Just Let Go. Coco and Blind Pig parted ways at that point, and Coco signed with Alligator Records. Since then he released Suspicion in 2000, Can’t Look Back in 2002, Dirty Deal in 2007, and I Want It All Back in 2010. You won’t want to miss this legend in the making!

For an interview with Montoya, click here. – Steve Heston

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