It's back to the levee on the banks of that Ol' Muddy for the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, as our award-winning blues fest celebrates its 25th Anniversary! It just doesn't seem like it's been that many years ago since Ross & Doris Haecker walked up to me at that parking lot gig in Milan, and told me about their plans to create a blues festival right here in these river cities. The memories abound... Albert Collins, James Cotton, Koko Taylor, Pinetop Perkins, Buddy Guy, Honeyboy Edwards (who, by the way, is back for this year's fest on Friday in the tent at 4 pm). So many legendary bluesmen and blueswomen have graced the MV Blues Fest stages over the two and a half decades since it first began. We watched our children grow up at the annual blues fests on the levee, and I can tell 'ya firsthand that there just aint no better way to spend the 4th with your family!
Don't miss your chance to sample the real deal blues this year, at one of the finest blues festivals in the entire country. Featured artists this year include: Saffire - The Uppity Blues Women, Bo Ramsey, Roy Rogers & The Delta Rhythm Kings, Ric E. Bluez, Dee Alexander, Bob Dorr & The Blue Band, Cobalt Blue, Eugene Hideaway Bridges, Sugar Pie DeSanto, Craig Horton, Larry McCray, Magic Slim & The Teardrops, Rod Piazza and the Mighty Flyers, Eddie "The Chief" Clearwater, free workshops, BlueSKool and more.
If you're not a member, I encourage you to join in support of the Mississippi Valley Blues Society's efforts to 'keep the blues alive' right here in the Quad Cities. They've been doing it for us for all these years, and it's no secret that the last few have been tough – but even the Great Flood or '93 couldn't wash away those blues. Yeah, I know times are tough all over right now, but I hope you’ll find it in your heart (and pocket) to come up with the few extra bucks it takes to join up as a supporting member of MVBS. For more information, and a complete schedule of this year's blues fest, visit www.mvbs.org online. I hope to see you all down on the levee this 4th of July weekend!
"Chicago Blues – A Living History," Billy Boy Arnold, John Primer, Billy Branch, Lurrie Bell (Raisin' Music) This one's been out a while (originally released in January), but it's required listening for Blues 101, and a complete urban blues primer for blues fans new and old. Billy Boy Arnold, John Primer, Billy Branch, Lurrie Bell and an all-star Chicago band lay it down on twenty-one tracks. This double-CD collection should hold you over jest fine until the blues fest gets here!
"Split Decision," Roy Rogers (Blind Pig Records) After a seven year recording hiatus for Roy and his band, The Delta Rhythm Kings, the slide wizard is back and cranking it out with a new batch of tasty tunes and signature guitar stylings. I remember when Roy first came around these parts in the early days of the blues fest, and it's sure good to see him back and wailin' the blues as good as it gets. The best part is that Roy & The Delta Rhythm Kings will be back LIVE on the bandshell stage at this year's fest on Thurs., July 2, at 11 pm!
"Rain or Shine," Joe Price (Blues Acre Productions) Some things just get better with age, and Joe Price's blues is one of 'em. Old school, get down, git-pickin', footstompin', house rockin' blues. Joe has no match when it comes to real deal, down home boogie 'n blues, and he is joined by true blue soulmate Vicki Price on vocals and guitar. Keni Ewing (drums), and Al Naylor (trumpet) guest on the closing instrumental, "Rock Slide".
That should be more than a plenty for you to chew on for now. Until we meet again this crossroads, peace, love & blessings to everyone and...
Local musician Ellis Kell writes about blues music both local and national in "True Blue", each month in the Entertainment section of The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus, online at www.qconline.com and www.wqad.com. He is Director of Programming & Education for the River Music Experience, a registered nonprofit helping build the Quad Cities music scene - through diverse live music and educational programming. He also hosts 'Currents at the Crossroads' musical segment of WQPT's Life & Times.firstname.lastname@example.org
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