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2014 Blues Fest: Thursday, July 3, Bandshell Bios PDF Print E-mail
Music - Mississippi Valley Blues Festival
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 26 June 2014 06:11

The Johnny Kilowatt Band with Gloria Hardiman, 5 p.m.

We have a great opener for the 30th-annual Mississippi Valley Blues Festival! The Johnny Kilowatt Band featuring Gloria Hardiman will get your blues blood pumping!

Jon Klinkowitz, a two-decade veteran of the Iowa blues scene, is the frontman and guitarist for the Johnny Kilowatt Band from Iowa City.

Klinkowitz was a founding member of the Blues Instigators and played with the group from 1990 to 1995, during which time the band won the University of Iowa RiverFest Battle of the Bands (in 1994) and the inaugural Iowa Blues Challenge (in 1995). The band backed Bo Diddley in 1993 and played the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival in 1993 and the Iowa City Jazz Festival in 1995. During Klinkowitz’s tenure, the band opened for Lonnie Brooks and Rod Piazza at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago and appeared on the syndicated television show Chicago Blues Jam. Klinkowitz formed the Johnny Kilowatt Band in the late 1990s; other members include fellow Blues Instigators alumnus Ed English on bass, Tim Crumley on drums, Bill Peterson on keyboards, and veteran jazz musician Saul Lubaroff on sax.

Joining the band at the 2014 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival will be Chicago blues vocalist Gloria Hardiman, who has toured internationally and recorded for Alligator Records.

Born in Yazoo City, Mississippi, Hardiman was a preacher’s daughter and expressed her religion in the gospel she sang. When she was six years old, her family moved to Chicago, where she continued her music within the church, encouraged by many – including Mahalia Jackson. Later, Hardiman took her talent into the blues clubs and stages of Chicago, Atlanta, Kansas City, Nebraska, the Carolinas, Canada, and Europe. She played everywhere from piano bars to hospitals, outdoor festivals to weddings. She appeared with Roy Buchanan on the 1986 release Today’s Blues – Volume 2 and was the featured vocalist with Professor’s Blues Review on “Meet Me with Your Black Drawers on” from the 1987 Alligator collection The New Bluebloods: The Next Generation of Chicago Blues.

Karen McFarland

Doug Deming & Dennis Gruenling with The Jewel Tones, 7 p.m.,

Born and raised in Detroit, Doug Deming now resides on the Gulf Coast of Florida. Doug’s inventive guitar licks, great songwriting, and upbeat dance music made him a regular in the Detroit clubs. While playing in the Detroit blues scene in the early ’90s, Doug spent many years backing the day’s top touring blues bands, including Fabulous Thunderbirds frontman Kim Wilson, legendary Louisiana bluesman Lazy Lester, and Chicago greats Johnny “Yard Dog” Jones and A.C. Reed – as well as Detroit’s own Queen of the Blues, Alberta Adams. With a nod to T-Bone Walker and Charlie Christian, as well as Luther Tucker and Robert Lockwood Jr., Doug leaves his own mark, whether swingin’ on the big jazz box or playing straight-up blues on his solid-body Fender guitar.

Now Doug is together and touring with Dennis Gruenling, whose harp playing has won him accolades from musicians and critics around the world. Backed by the Jewel Tones, Doug and Dennis play traditional blues, West Coast and Texas swing, early rock, country, and roots music.

Dennis Gruenling has earned recognition for his swinging, highly original harmonica sound and style. Drawing from the harmonica and swing sax styles and tradition, Dennis is pushing the boundaries and is pioneering a whole new sound and direction for the harmonica. This is an act that I’m sure will have the attention of all our talented harp players at the blues festival.

The Jewel Tones consist of Andrew Cohman on upright and Fender bass and Devin Neel on drums. Cohman was born in Ohio and raised in Florida. He started playing traditional blues guitar at the age of 15 and switched to the bass at 25. Andrew played the Tampa/St. Pete blues scene until he joined the Jewel Tones in 2011. Neel grew up in Indiana playing piano, then drums by 19. Devin played drums with the Bottom Feeders as well as other local groups, and has toured with Damon Fowler.

Ellen Clow

Nick Moss Band, 9 p.m.

Nick Moss began playing bass at an early age, and by the time he graduated from high school, he was in demand in the Chicago blues scene. He played with Jimmy Dawkins and later was asked to play bass in Willie “Big Eyes” Smith’s Legendary Blues Band. It was Willie’s idea for Nick to switch from bass to guitar. Then he played guitar for three years in Jimmy Rogers’ band. These apprenticeships served him well when he started his own band, Nick Moss & the Flip-Tops, in 1999, and began writing and recording an acclaimed series of albums for his own Blue Bella label.

But take note that what we’ll get on the Bandshell is not Nick Moss & the Flip-Tops but the Nick Moss Band, which just released Time Ain’t Free in March. The new CD “reaches deeper into soul, funk, and rock ’n’ roll,” according to Tom Hyslop of Blues Music Magazine describes Time Ain’t Free this way: “Blending elements of Parliament, the Allman Brothers, Stevie Wonder, Faces, even Afrobeat, and at times evoking an Ike Turner-Little Feat summit, the set encompasses Muscle Shoals sweetness, stormy postmodern boogie, greasy roadhouse R&B, soul-tinged rock, and gospel-inflected ballads, all filtered through Moss’ deep-blue lens.”

The Nick Moss Band is made up of Moss on guitar, vocals, and harmonica; Michael Ledbetter on vocals, guitar, and percussion; Patrick Seals on drums and percussion; Nick Fane on bass; and Taylor Streiff on piano and organ.

“New vocalist”/rhythm guitarist Ledbetter recently told Terry Mullins in Blues Blast: “This is what I would like to do; along with bringing our new brand of the blues along, I would like to also keep the straight-ahead Chicago blues alive. ... I would really like to get back to people having an appreciation for those kinds of blues. That’s what we try to do in every show we do. The Nick Moss Band – and myself personally – are on a mission to do that for the music world.”

Karen McFarland

Kim Simmonds & Savoy Brown, 11 p.m.

At the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, we’ll see the 32nd configuration of Savoy Brown in its almost 50-year history: Kim Simmonds on guitars, keyboards, harmonica, and vocals; Pat DeSalvo on bass; and Garnet Grimm on drums. Of course, Kim Simmonds is the common denominator in all the lineups. “When I started the band back in 1965,” says Savoy Brown’s iconic frontman and guitarist, “the concept was to be a British version of a Chicago blues band. Now, here we are in 2014, and once again, the music on this recording echoes the blues sounds of Chicago.”

Released in February on Ruf Records, Goin’ to the Delta follows 2011’s acclaimed Voodoo Moon and last year’s live set, Songs from the Road. “The band’s style has evolved in many directions, whilst always keeping the blues as its root,” says Kim of the Savoy Brown back catalog. “Now we’ve come full circle. The songs and playing on [Goin’ to the Delta] are straightforward in focus and as basic as blues should be.”

Rewind to 1965, and Kim was a linchpin of an exciting scene in music history, establishing Savoy Brown in the first wave of British blues boomers, signing to Decca, opening for Cream’s first London show, and being name-dropped in the same breath as peers like Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix (with whom he jammed). Even then, the guitarist was emerging as the band’s driving force. Soon enough, Savoy Brown had achieved what most British bands never did – success in America – and became a major Stateside draw thanks to their high-energy material and tireless work ethic.

By 1979, Simmonds had moved from a London he no longer recognized to settle permanently in New York. The Savoy Brown band members came and went, and the music scene shifted around him, but Kim Simmonds stuck to his guns and reaped the rewards, performing in iconic venues like Carnegie Hall and the Fillmore East and West, releasing more than 30 albums, and later enjoying a well-deserved induction into Hollywood’s Rock Walk of Fame.

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