Suscribe to Weekly RiverCitiesReader.com Updates
* indicates required

View previous campaigns.

Latest Comments

2012 Blues Fest – An Active “Retirement”: Lonnie Brooks (Sunday, July 1, 9 p.m., Bandshell) PDF Print E-mail
Music - Mississippi Valley Blues Festival
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 05:58

Brooks Family Blues Dynasty

“I’m not working as much as I’ve been,” said 78-year-old Lonnie Brooks in a recent phone interview. “I had in mind to try to retire, but my boys keep tellin’ me, ‘Let’s go out there.’”

I asked him when he decided he wanted to retire. Without missing a beat or belying the joke, the Louisiana-bred Chicagoan deadpanned: “I was thinking about this about 16 years ago. But I needed money, so I kept on.”

Brooks’ “retirement” decision coincided with his last studio release of new recordings, 1996’s Roadhouse Rules – which in retrospect seems to have ended a two-decade solo run on the Alligator label, including 1979’s classic Bayou Lightning. The All Music Guide called him “a Chicago blues giant” with a “unique Louisiana/Chicago blues synthesis unlike anyone else’s on the competitive Windy City scene.”

 
2012 Blues Fest – Devil in Disguise: Bobby Rush (Sunday, July 1, 8:30 p.m., Tent) PDF Print E-mail
Music - Mississippi Valley Blues Festival
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 05:57

Bobby RushWhen Blues Music Award winner Bobby Rush takes the stage at this year’s Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, he’ll be doing so in a concert set titled “The Double Rush Revue,” so named because, as he says, “I’ve got one part of the show I’m doing with the band, and the next part I’m gonna strip down – just me and my guitar.”

It won’t be the first time the 76-year-old blues artist has stripped down for a gig.

 
2012 Blues Fest – Finding His Soul: Coco Montoya (Saturday, June 30, 10 p.m., Bandshell) PDF Print E-mail
Music - Mississippi Valley Blues Festival
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 05:56

Coco Montoya

For the music career of singer/guitarist Coco Montoya, thank the persistence of John Mayall.

It’s not merely that Mayall called Montoya to ask him to join the legendary Bluesbreakers band in the early 1980s. It’s that he called back when Montoya – who had quit music as a profession after a stint drumming for Albert Collins in the 1970s – hung up on him.

“I didn’t think it was him,” Montoya said in a recent phone interview, promoting his Saturday bandshell performance at the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival. “I was bartending at a British pub. ... So I thought it was some of the English cats in there teasing me. ... He called back. ‘No, this really is John Mayall. ... Do I have to come down there ... ?’”

 
2012 Blues Fest – Carrying the Torch: Kenny Neal (Friday, June 29, 10:30 p.m., Bandshell) PDF Print E-mail
Music - Mississippi Valley Blues Festival
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 05:55

Kenny NealA lot of people count the harmonica player Slim Harpo as an influence – among them the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, and Pink Floyd – but nobody can claim a connection as direct (or harrowing) as swamp-blues master Kenny Neal.

Slim Harpo was a regular in the Louisiana home of the Neals, and Kenny – one of the sons of harp player Raful Neal – recalled in a recent phone interview the story of how he got his first harmonica when he was three years old.

“He was just playin’ around,” Neal said of Slim Harpo. “He tricked me into a trailer one day. ... He told me, ‘Look inside and see if there’s any more equipment in there.’ I went inside, and he closed the doors. It got pitch black and I got phobia. ... Freaked me out. I started screamin’ and yellin’, and that freaked him out. He was trying to quiet me down, so he decided to give me a harmonica – that was the closest thing he had that would probably soothe me a little bit.”

 
2012 Blues Fest – Happy Accidents: Kelley Hunt (Saturday, June 30, 9:30 p.m., Tent) PDF Print E-mail
Music - Mississippi Valley Blues Festival
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 05:54

Kelley HuntWhile listening to Kelley Hunt perform – the singer/songwriter’s joyously smoky, soulful blues vocals a perfect match for her funky and fiery piano skills – it’s easy to imagine that the Kansas-based musician never lacked for confidence. As she admits during our recent phone interview, though, she actually did. She just didn’t tell anyone.

“When I was about 17, I was in a band with my brother’s friends, and these were older guys – like 21 or whatever,” says Hunt with a laugh. “I wasn’t singing at all; I was just playing these keyboards that they had. And one night we were playing for an event at the college in Emporia, where I grew up, and we were being paid, and the gal that was supposed to sing just did not show up. And it was time to start, and the guys looked at me and just said, ‘Oh my God, we hope you can sing.’

“I was pretty much horrified,” she continues. “I mean, I knew I could, because I was doing it in school, but never in this kind of setting. So at that moment, I just made a conscious decision: ‘I’m going to pretend like I’m all about this, and I’m going to pretend like I’m not scared out of my gourd.’ And I just slammed it out for a couple hours, and I remember thinking, ‘Well, (a) nobody here even knows there’s anything different, (b) the singer’s fired, and (c) I now get paid twice as much.’”

Laughing, Hunt says, “I just stepped into it brazenly and naïvely, and just assumed that it would all work out.”

 
2012 Blues Festival – A Wider Audience for the King of Beale Street: Preston Shannon (Saturday, June 30, 6 p.m., Bandshell) PDF Print E-mail
Music - Mississippi Valley Blues Festival
Written by Karen McFarland   
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 05:53

Preston ShannonPreston Shannon was working and performing in Memphis during the 1960s and ’70s, when “Soulsville USA” rivaled Detroit’s Motown. Stax Records ruled the airwaves with Booker T & the MGs laying down the backing “Memphis Soul Stew” for hits by Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, and Wilson Pickett, while over at Hi Records producer and songwriter Willie Mitchell was working with Al Green and Otis Clay. It was a magic time. You can hear those soul influences in Preston Shannon’s music, but he doesn’t acknowledge the soul connection.

“I am really a blues man,” Shannon declared in a recent phone interview. “I know the blues, I’ve experienced the blues, I play the blues. You know, when I recorded all my CDs, the reason I inserted R&B ... was because at the time it was so hard to get airplay for the blues.”

 
2012 Blues Fest – Lady Sings the Blues: Lady Bianca (Sunday, July 1, 5 p.m., Bandshell) PDF Print E-mail
Music - Mississippi Valley Blues Festival
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 05:52

Lady BiancaLady Bianca. Her very name suggests confidence and brio and more than a hint of glamor, qualities that are readily apparent in the artist’s soulful, soaring renderings of blues originals and covers, and that led Blues Revue magazine to call her “a great talent whose hearty, refreshing approach tugs at the heart while moving the feet.” (For a quick, thrilling introduction to Lady Bianca’s gifts, check out her performances of “Ooh, His Love Is So Good” – from her 1995 debut album Best Kept Secret – and Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel,” both viewable on YouTube.)

So when you learn that Lady Bianca (born Bianca Thornton) was given her stage moniker at age 17 – a name bestowed on her by the noted San Francisco-based bluesman Quinn Harris, for whom she sang backup – you might think that even then she boasted the electrifying magnetism and blues-fueled assurance that she does now at age 58.

“Oh, no,” she says, with a laugh, during our recent phone interview. “Quinn Harris named me Lady Bianca because I was so square.”

 
2012 Blues Fest – Friday, June 29: Bandshell PDF Print E-mail
Music - Mississippi Valley Blues Festival
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 05:51

Matthew Curry & the Fury, 6:30 p.m.

The party starts here! Matthew Curry is a teenage phenom from Normal, Illinois, who plays guitar, writes songs, and sings. He is backed by the Fury – veteran performers Greg Neville on drums and Jeff Paxton on bass.

In 2011, Matthew was awarded second place (first was taken by a Tommy Castro collaboration) in the International Songwriting Competition for his composition “Blinded by the Darkness,” a slow, Chicago-sounding blues that features his Clapton-like guitar melodies. The song is included on the 2011 debut CD for Matthew Curry & the Fury, If I Don’t Got You.

 
2012 Blues Fest – Friday, June 29: Tent PDF Print E-mail
Music - Mississippi Valley Blues Festival
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 05:50

Earnest “Guitar” Roy, 6:30 p.m.

Earnest Roy Jr. was born on September 25, 1958, in Clarksdale, Mississippi, under the watchful eye of his father, guitarist Earnest Roy Sr., who worked with Jackie Brinston, Ike Turner, John Lee Hooker, Wade Walton, Raymond Hill, and many of the other Clarksdale bluesmen. Earnest’s father taught him bass guitar at five, and when Earnest turned eight, he began playing in his father’s band, Earnest Roy & the Clarksdale Rockers, whose members included Big Jack Johnson. At age 11, Earnest Jr. began playing lead guitar, and he formed his first band at 14, which led to his being regular performer on Soul Train.

 
2012 Blues Fest – Saturday, June 30: Bandshell PDF Print E-mail
Music - Mississippi Valley Blues Festival
Written by Administrator   
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.

 
2012 Blues Fest – Saturday, June 30: Tent PDF Print E-mail
Music - Mississippi Valley Blues Festival
Written by Administrator   
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.

 
2012 Blues Fest – Sunday, July 1: Bandshell PDF Print E-mail
Music - Mississippi Valley Blues Festival
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 05:47
Jeff Banks & the Pain Killers, 3 p.m.

Congratulations to the winners of the Iowa Blues Challenge: Jeff Banks & the Pain Killers! They emerged victorious from tough challenges by two Quad Cities bands – Serious Business and The Mississippi Misfits – at the final round in Des Moines in May.

The Pain Killers will represent the state of Iowa at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis next February. Besides their set at the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, they will receive recording time and cash to help defray expenses in Memphis.

 
2012 Blues Fest – Sunday, July 1: Tent PDF Print E-mail
Music - Mississippi Valley Blues Festival
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 05:46

Winter Blues All-Stars, 3 p.m.

The Winter Blues All-Stars is a collaboration of graduates of the River Music Experience’s Winter Blues program, led by Ellis Kell and Hal Reed. The kids have been practicing hard, so their set will be sure to amaze the audience!

 
2012 Blues Fest – Workshop and BluSKool Performers PDF Print E-mail
Music - Mississippi Valley Blues Festival
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 05:45

David Horwitz (blues photography): Saturday, June 30, 2:30 p.m.

Photographer and educator David Horwitz of Tucson, Arizona, has been traveling to clubs and festivals for decades in search of great blues music for his ears and visual images to capture on film. The winner of the 1999 Blues Foundation’s Keeping the Blues Alive Award for Photography, David has spent more than 25 years capturing moments of the blues masters. His works have appeared in countless publications. Last year, he was inducted into the Arizona Blues Hall of Fame. This is his 25th year of shooting the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, and the free photo exhibit near the workshops will showcase David’s work. – Ann Ring

 
2011 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival Coverage PDF Print E-mail
Music - Mississippi Valley Blues Festival
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 22 June 2011 06:07

This year’s Mississippi Valley Blues Festival – co-sponsored by the River Cities’ Reader – will be held July 1 through 3 in downtown Davenport’s LeClaire Park. The event features 27 acts spread over two stages, and the music begins at 5 p.m. on Friday and 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

In the links that follow, you’ll find interviews with five of this year’s performers.

In addition, the full festival schedule can be found on the back page of this week’s River Cities’ Reader or at MVBS.org/fest.

Advance tickets – $17 for a single day and $50 for the weekend – are available through June 30 at the Adler Theatre box office, Ticketmaster outlets, and local Hy-Vee stores. Admission at the gate is $20 per day. Children 14 and younger are admitted free with a paid adult.

 
Thank You for Smoker-ing – The Paul Smoker Notet: Sunday, July 3, 5:30 p.m., Tent Stage PDF Print E-mail
Music - Mississippi Valley Blues Festival
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 22 June 2011 06:05

Paul Smoker

It would be hard to argue that acclaimed trumpet player and bandleader Paul Smoker isn’t an ideal local-musician-makes-good choice for the 2011 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival. After all, the 70-year-old was raised in Davenport, performed in numerous Quad Cities nightclubs (starting at the tender age of 14), and earned four degrees from the University of Iowa, including a doctorate in music.

Granted, if you were feeling particularly quarrelsome, you could note that Smoker isn’t a blues musician, as he freely admits. But while he and his bandmates – the four-man ensemble the Paul Smoker Notet – will be performing at this year’s festival in the annual slot reserved for jazz artists, it’s not as though the blues is a genre he’s unpracticed in.

 
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 Next > End >>

Page 2 of 5