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Photos from the 2013 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, July 4-6 in Downtown Davenport PDF Print E-mail
Mississippi Valley Blues Festival
Written by Matt Erickson and Steve France   
Tuesday, 09 July 2013 20:45

Photos from the 2013 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, held July 4 through 6 in downtown Davenport.

Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Photo by Matt Erickson, MRE-Photography.com

Mighty Sam McClain. Photo by Matt Erickson, MRE-Photography.com

 
Photos from Rock the District, June 29 in the District of Rock Island PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Matt Erickson   
Tuesday, 02 July 2013 14:47

Photos from the Rock the District concert in the District of Rock Island on June 29, 2013, headlined by Theory of a Deadman and also featuring 3 Pill Morning, Candlelight Red, and 3 Years Hollow. For more work by Matt Erickson, visit MRE-Photography.com.

Photo by Matt Erickson, MRE-Photography.com

 
Complete 2013 Blues Fest Coverage: Schedule, Ticket Info, President's Welcome, and More! PDF Print E-mail
Mississippi Valley Blues Festival
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 27 June 2013 06:00

After the River Cities’ Reader’s official guide to the 2013 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival went to press, the Mississippi Valley Blues Society announced that the festival was being moved from LeClaire Park to Second Street in downtown Davenport because of flooding:

Mississippi Valley Blues Festival organizers have finalized the site for the July 4-6 event in downtown Davenport. The 29th Mississippi Valley Blues Festival will take place on Second Street. Bandshell acts will perform on an east-facing stage near Ripley Street. Tent Stage acts will perform in the courtyard area just east of the River Music Experience at Second and Main. BlueSKool will be held on the River Music Experience’s Community Stage, and workshops and the photo exhibit will be held in the River Music Experience’s upstairs Exhibit Hall.

 
2013 Blues Fest – Playing It by Ear: Kenny Wayne Shepherd (Saturday, July 6, 11 p.m., Bandshell) PDF Print E-mail
Mississippi Valley Blues Festival
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 27 June 2013 05:59

If you’re an amateur guitarist hoping to turn pro, particularly one with an affinity for blues rock, you could certainly choose lesser talents to emulate than Kenny Wayne Shepherd. The 37-year-old musician, after all, has been already nominated for five Grammy Awards, has won two Blues Music Awards and two Billboard Music Awards, and was once named the world’s third-finest blues guitarist by Guitar World magazine, with only B.B. King and Eric Clapton ranking higher.

If, however, you’re an amateur guitarist who feels that the world of professional music will forever be out of reach due to your inability to actually read music, don’t let that dissuade you from following your dream. It turns out that Kenny Wayne Shepherd doesn’t read music, either.

“Yeah, I still play by ear,” says Shepherd, who unofficially began his career as a self-taught guitarist at the tender age of seven. “I used to have to sound songs out one note at a time until I got from the beginning to the end of it. It was kind of a tedious process in the beginning, but you know, it’s gotten easier over the years. Modern technology is a big help now, because I can just record things on my iPhone, but yeah – I just play what sounds good, and then I just have to remember it.”

 
2013 Blues Fest – “If I Don’t Sing, I Die”: Mighty Sam McClain (Friday, July 5, 11 p.m., Bandshell) PDF Print E-mail
Mississippi Valley Blues Festival
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Thursday, 27 June 2013 05:58

“Anyway, that’s just some of the stuff,” the soul-blues singer Mighty Sam McClain said to me in a recent phone interview. “You’re a good listener.”

He’d been talking, nonstop, for 31 minutes, responding to the simplest of opening questions: “What have you been up to?” After the compliment he paid me, he chattered for another 39 minutes, with just a few questions to prompt him.

Admittedly, the man has a lot to talk about.

He left his home in Louisiana at age 13 to escape an abusive stepfather. “He hit me a couple times,” McClain said. “He hit me in the head with a hammer. Once. Then he hit me with a walking stick. So I was getting ready to kill him. I really was. He was a hunter. And there were guns all over the house. ... I thought about doing it.”

Instead, he said, “I crawled out the window, and I didn’t look back.”

He then hooked up with Little Melvin Underwood, initially as a roadie and by age 15 – in the late 1950s – as a singer.

 
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