Friday, July 6, and Saturday, July 7
LeClaire Park, 400 Beiderbecke Drive, Davenport IA
The formidable talents of Walter Trout, Jonny Lang, Shaun Murphy, and many others will be showcased when the Mississippi Valley Blues Society hosts the 2018 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival in LeClaire Park, the July 6 and 7 outdoor event boasting exhilarating sets with national, regional, and local blues artists and interactive presentations for kids in the society's popular BlueSKool program.
On July 6, the festivities begin with a 5 p.m. Tribute to Ellis Kell, held in honor of the beloved area musician and longtime spearhead for Davenport's River Music Experience, with former members of the Ellis Kell Band and special guests performing some of Kell's most well-known and adored blues tunes. Called “thoroughly engrossing and ultra-soulful” by NoDepression.com, Nebraska's Kris Lager Band takes the LeClaire Park Bandshell stage at 6:30 p.m., playing hits from their 15-year repertoire as well as songs from the ensemble's latest album Love Songs & Life Lines. And with the Avery/Grouws Band playing on the park's Pedigo/Jones Stage in between bandshell acts, 8:30 p.m. brings with it a sizzling set by Walter Trout, the blues guitarist and singer/songwriter who has collaborated with the legendary likes of Percy Mayfield and John Lee Hooker, and was awarded two 2016 Blues Music Awards for Song of the Year “Gonna Live Again” and Rock Blues Album of the Year Battle Scars.
The following day's July 7 schedule, with All Sweat Productions presenting local talent on the Pedigo/Jones Stage between cts, starts with a 1 p.m. bandshell set by area favorites The Peña Brothers, followed by a 2:30 concert with Mississippi-based blues man Anthony “Big A” Sherrod. A true blues prodigy takes the bandshell stage at 4:30 p.m., when 14-year-old guitarist/vocalist Brandon “Taz” Niederauer demonstrates the musicial talents that led to a Broadway stint in The School of Rock and casting in NBC's recently televised Jesus Christ Superstar. At 6:30 p.m., the Blues Fest hosts a set with renowned singer/songwriter Shaun Murphy, a former member of the band Little Feat whose Ask for the Moon album was nominated for three Grammy Awards and won two Blues Blast Awards. And the weekend's festivities conclude with Jonny Lang at 8:30 p.m., the blues, gospel, and rock vocalist/guitarist who has had five albums on the Billboard Top 200 chart and won a Grammy for his 2006 album Turn Around.
In addition to this year's concert sets, the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival will feature a trio of family-themed events in the BlueSKool lineup: a 2 p.m. musical presentation with the Ellis Kell Winter Blues All-Stars; 3:30 p.m. blues-harmonica lessons with the great David Berntson; and a 5 p.m. Delta Blues session with Anthony “Big A” Sherrod.
Admission to this year's Mississippi Valley Blues Festival is $15-20 on July 6, $25 on July 7, and $35-45 for a weekend pass. For more information and tickets, call (563)322-5837 or visit MVBS.org.