2012 Blues Fest – Saturday, June 30: Tent Print
Music - Mississippi Valley Blues Festival
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Wednesday, 20 June 2012 05:48

Bryce Janey, 2 p.m.

Bryce Janey grew up in a musical family and has been playing his guitar for almost 30 years. He started playing at 13 years old in his hometown of Marion, Iowa, in a blues trio with his mother on drums and his father also on guitar. They were simply named The Janeys. Both he and his father Billy Lee Janey are in the Iowa Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. They still perform as a four- or five-piece band called The Janeys; his mother no longer performs, but Bryce and Billy Lee still headline the band. Bryce also has a band of his own that performs under the name Bryce Janey Group.

In 1995, Bryce released his first CD, titled Practice What You Preach. He followed that with Live at Checkers Tavern, which many of you might know is in Cedar Rapids. Next he released Sweet Baby Jane. In 2001, he released Live at J.M. O’Malley’s (another fixture of the Cedar Rapids blues scene), followed in 2002 by The Janeys and in 2006 by Heal the Night. In 2010, he released Blues in my Soul, and in 2011 he released two albums: Down Home Blues and Game of Life. Bryce was in The Blue Band with Bob Dorr from 1999 to 2002. Bryce also finds time to play part-time with Perry Welsh and Tommy T-Bone Giblin in The Pumpers. He was the 2011 Iowa Blues Challenge winner in the solo/duo competition and went on to become a 2012 International Blues Challenge semifinalist in Memphis.

It will be his solo show that Bryce will perform at our festival this year. So don’t miss seeing one of Iowa’s own native sons on the tent stage kicking off day two of our festival!

For more information,visit TheJaneys.com or BryceJaney.com. – Steve Heston

Doug MacLeod, 3:30 p.m.

Doug MacLeod is a gifted blues guitarist and superb songwriter who learned from the old blues masters and is carrying on their tradition. Whether picking or playing bottleneck on his National Reso-Phonic guitar, MacLeod is known for his unique and powerfully rhythmic style of acoustic-guitar-playing, a blend of churning bass and intricate finger-picking influenced by his early years playing blues bass and by his journeys into jazz and electric blues. MacLeod’s playing landed him sideman gigs with George “Harmonica” Smith, Big Joe Turner, Pee Wee Crayton, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, Lowell Fulson, and Big Mama Thornton.

Doug has been prolific as a songwriter, having now penned several hundred compositions. His songs have been recorded by Albert King, Albert Collins, Son Seals, Joe Louis Walker, Papa John Creach, Dave Alvin, Eva Cassidy, Coco Montoya, Chris Thomas King, Sun Records veteran Billy Lee Riley, and James Armstrong. These songs express life and times and experiences on a level that makes listeners feel they know each person inside and out. As MacLeod puts it: “Makes ya think I been reading your mail, huh?”

It is during his unforgettable live performances, though, that MacLeod shines the brightest. He entertains and draws his audience closer by telling the stories that inspired the songs. It is no wonder that MacLeod is highly sought-after as a festival performer and has entertained music fans throughout the world at countless international blues, jazz, and folk festivals.

MacLeod has garnered many honors. He has been nominated for numerous W.C. Handy and Blues Music awards – including in 2012 for Acoustic Artist of the Year and Best Acoustic Album: Brand New Eyes. You will find his portrait hanging in the Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He was celebrated as one of the “49 musicians shaping a new blues tradition” in Art Tipaldi’s book Children of the Blues. Blues Revue magazine said of him: “MacLeod is not a mere imitator of a style, but one of the vibrant voices that will keep this sound alive into the next century.” And blues legend Honeyboy Edwards said: “There’s a man who can play the blues!”

McLeod will conduct a workshop on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

For more information, visit Doug-MacLeod.com. – Glenn Cotabish

Ernest Dawkins Quartet, 5:30 p.m.

If you like freedom, you’ll like Ernest Dawkins. While he can, and definitely does, play some remarkably tight arrangements, what he’s most noted for is “free-bop” and avant-garde music that would appeal to an Ornette Coleman fan. You’ll also hear blues (of course), swing, and funk. His latest CD, The Prairie Prophet, features a gospel- influenced jazz waltz called “Hymn for a Hip King” dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. Did I mention that this guy is versatile?

This influential alto and tenor saxophonist has studied at Vandercook College of Music in Chicago and was awarded both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in musical education from Governor’s State University in University Park, Illinois. Since forming the New Horizons Ensemble in 1979, Ernest and his band have traveled throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. They’ve recorded seven CDs, and their latest has received special notice from the critics.

The New Horizons Ensemble appeared at our 2004 festival and more recently played at the Polyrhythms Third Sunday Jazz series at the Redstone Room. I know where I’m gonna be Saturday afternoon. I hope you’ll join me. Your ears will be opened.

For more information, visit ErnestDawkins.com. – Stan Furlong

Moreland & Arbuckle, 7:30 p.m.

Guitarist Aaron Moreland and harpist/vocalist Dustin Arbuckle have been kicking around the blues scene for more than 10 years now. The story goes that they met at an open-mic night, and it all seemed to click. Heard that before? Well, I’m talking a big click here.

Hailing from Kansas, these two guys have been playing, changing, adding, and improvising their music along the way. This certainly does not imply they needed to learn their blues; they have refined it to fit them. I would guess that with two core musicians playing together night after night, you get to know one another very well. It shows in their music.

Aaron plays a cigar-box guitar along with the other standard guitars that a blues musician has. We have all seen people playing cigar boxes; some, of course, just seem like a novelty. But Aaron has it right on. Dustin sings and plays a mean harp – I mean a mean, cool, down-home-sounding harp. These two, together, play some great Delta blues along with some Hill Country blues, and of course a bit of funk thrown in, with at times maybe a rock edge or two in there for good measure. They usually travel with a drummer named Brad Horner who keeps the backbeat going.

Having seen these guys at a festival in Mississippi, I’ve got to say: Man, this is my kind of show! This, in my opinion, is close to being Down South Blues. That kind of down- home Charley Patton/early Clarksdale or maybe some Dockery Farms stuff.

This is going to be one of those tent shows you don’t want to miss. Better get there early!

For more information, visit MorelandArbuckle.com. Michael Livermore

Kelley Hunt, 9:30 p.m.

Kelley Hunt was born in Kansas City, Kansas. Her love of music was inspired at an early age by her mother singing jazz and blues in the home, and her grandmother, who was a New Orleans gospel singer. Kelley tells her own story in a song called “Queen of the 88s” on her third CD, Inspiration – my favorite of her five albums. She tells how she began playing the piano at the age of three. Kelley endured years of five different piano teachers telling her that playing by ear was no good, and that boogie-woogie had to go. Kelley kept coming home crying, until one day, when she was 10 years old, her mother took her to see Mary Burt Norton, the “Queen of the 88s.” Mary asked Kelley what she wanted to do, and Kelley said: “I wanna boogie-woogie! That’s what I wanna do!” The rest is history.

I have seen Kelley Hunt perform live three times. I saw her in a local blues bar (Muddy Waters), an intimate setting where I sat five feet from her piano. I saw her at the Electric Park Ballroom years ago, and she was fantastic! And I saw her on the bandshell stage at our blues festival a few years back, when she did her own set, and then came back out later and stole the show from Delbert McClinton! I have loved her show every time. She has a commanding stage presence and superior vocal and keyboard skills, and she writes passionate lyrics that touch you deep in your heart. Gospel music influenced Kelley’s ballad-style songs, but her trademark is full-tilt boogie. I can’t wait to see her again!

For more information, visit KelleyHunt.com. For an interview with Hunt, click here. – Ellen Clow


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