Ronnie Baker Brooks


An American Chicago blues and soul guitarist, singer and songwriter – Brooks was a respected club performer in Chicago before recording three solo albums for Watchdog Records. Another born-to-play-the-blues dynamo, he’s the son of fellow Chicago blues musician Lonnie Brooks and brother of blues guitarist Wayne Baker Brooks.

Brooks is a monster guitarist with an ample supply of technique and passion that wows crowds of all ages. Brooks’ unique twist takes blues rock and deep soul and shakes it up with modern hip-hop vocals and funk rhythms. Working with Minneapolis producer Jellybean Johnson, a veteran collaborator of Prince and Janet Jackson, Brooks takes blues-roots to new depths.
“I like to think of how Muddy Waters took the Mississippi blues he heard in his youth and modernized it for his times by making it electric and harder,” Brooks says. “That’s what I’m trying to do for my generation.“

Brooks’ personal touch shines through in the concise, colorful songs for The Torch album he wrote. He draws on the choppy, hip-shaking rhythms of funk, the emotional truth of soul and the forcefulness of rock to bring a distinctive dimension to his groundbreaking sound.

“I wanted to do something that would bring young people to the blues, and then give them the real hardcore thing at the same time,” Brooks says. “When I grew up, all my friends listened to rap and funk, and I listened to the blues…we saw some connection among them. It’s a hip-hop world right now, but I want to bring a little blues to the party.”

Visit Ronnie Baker Brooks’ website.

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The Golden State/Lone Star Revue


This all-star band of musicians hails from California and Texas, delivering rockin’ western-bred blues true to their nature. A distinct subgenre of the blues, fans will delight to a heavier use of guitar licks as bridges and Southern-slide melodies combined with sweet harp for a swingin’ Texas-blues combo.

Featured in the Revue are: Mark Hummel (harp-blower, vocalist, bandleader and Grammy nominee); Little Charlie Baty (ex-Nightcats bandleader and guitar hero); RW Grigsby (bassist); Texans Anson Funderburgh (guitarist and Rockets bandleader) and Wes Starr (famed Austin drummer who played with the Who’s Who of Texas music royalty).

Hummel started playing harmonica in 1970 and since has become one of the premier blues harmonica players of this generation. His trademark sound – a subtle combination of tone, phrasing and attack – combines with a strong sense of swing.

Producing and performing Blind Pig’s Remembering Little Walter, the CD was nominated for a Grammy Award and has recently won Best Blues Album and Best Traditional Blues Album of the year at the Blues Music Awards.

Mark has earned three Blues Award nominations for best Blues Harmonica (2007, 2008 and 2009) and the Remembering Little Walter CD has garnered two nominations in 2014 for best CD and best Traditional CD. Mark Hummel was nominated two years in a row for the BMA 2015 Best Instrumentalist-Harmonica. In 2015, the Best Traditional Blues Album titled The Hustle is Really On features the Revue, completing a new recording for release in 2016.

Visit The Golden State/Lone Star Revue website.

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Victor Wainwright & the Wildroots


Born in Savannah, Georgia, Victor was surrounded by a musical family as he emulated his dad’s vocals and Grandpa Jessie’s boogie-woogie piano playing. Though his career began more than a decade ago with genuine rock n’ roll honky-tonk, Wainwright has broadened his artistic scope to include music representing virtually every corner of the blues. His high-octane Boogie piano blended with soulful vocals are backed by one of the most gifted bands on the scene – The Wildroots.

Wainwright’s insatiable interest in music discovery, sheer love for entertaining and curiosity have led him all around the world. The resulting perspective is a reflection of his passion for entertaining and creating progressive roots music in an effort to move the blues art form forward.

Composer, producer, vocalist, entertainer and award winning piano player, Victor Wainwright is a raucous, high-octane, dynamic performer and crowd pleaser with soul to spare. Among his claims to fame: 2016 Blues Music Award Nominee, BB King Entertainer of The Year, Band of The Year, Piano Player of The Year, 2015 Boom Town Billboard Top 10 #5, 2013 and 2014 Piano Player of The Year (BMA). With the release of Boom Town, their latest record, the band is certain to ignite blues-roots fans with a flame they can’t explain.

Visit Victor Wainwright & the Wildroots’ website.

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Jason Ricci


Hailing from Portland Maine, Jason Ricci began his international music career by moving to Memphis in 1995 to hone his spectacular harp talent with former Johnny Winter sideman Pat Ramsey. That same year, only 20-years-old, Ricci won the Sonny Boy Blues Society contest and played the King Biscuit Festival.

Since then Ricci has won dozens of blues and harmonica contests, toured the world and amassed an impressive collection of awards, honors and accolades. In 2010 Ricci’s album Done With The Devil (Delta Groove) was nominated for a BMA Award. He won the BMA Award for Best Harmonica Player competing with and beating his childhood heroes Kim Wilson, Billy Branch, Mark Hummel and Rick Estrin.

In 2014 Ricci was a featured artist on Johnny Winter’s Grammy Award-winning album Step Back produced by Paul Nelson.  Ricci was invited by Paul Shaffer to play on the HBO televised Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony for Paul Butterfield in 2015. Ricci performed in front of 10,000 people and millions of HBO viewers with Zac Brown (multi-platinum singer songwriter) and Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello with the Paul Shaffer band.

Visit Jason Ricci’s website.

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Larry McCray


Arkansas-based and Michigan-bred Larry McCray is a singer, guitarist, songwriter and bandleader that takes blues soul and rocks it to new heights.
“I’ve always loved blues from a feeling-state, but have been a rock and roll fan, so I write music that’s rock-friendly,” Larry says.

He’s met and played with kings of blues influences B.B. King, Albert King and Freddie King and his 25-plus year career has led him across genre boundaries drawing attention worldwide with his own savage blues-rock guitar and warm, soulful vocals.

Magnolia Records released McCray’s first live album in 2005. In November of 2006, Larry’s studio record, Larry McCray, was released and gained popularity from coast to coast in the U.S. also making a splash in Europe.

He’s earned an Orville H. Gibson Males Blues Guitarist award and the Top Guitarist prize in the International Blues Matters 2014 Writers poll. In 2015 he won the Sunshine Sonny Payne award for Excellence in Blues.

Larry’s latest CD release, The Gibson Sessions, features some of his personal favorite rock tunes including songs by Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Seger, ZZ Top, Greg Allman, CCR and more and are performed with guitar virtuosos Dickie Betts, Derek Trucks, David Hidalgo and Jimmy Herring. Larry’s rock/blues offerings are certain to bring the fans to their feet.

Visit Larry McCray’s website.

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Sugar Ray and the Bluetones


Singer and harp man Sugar Ray Norcia’s career kicked into high gear in 1979 when he formed the original band with guitar-giant Ronnie Earl and they’ve been cruising at 90 m.p.h. ever since. Touring the world with the Bluetones, he’s creating acclaimed albums including his forth Severn release My Life, My Friends, My Music which earned Blues Music Award nominations for Album of the Year, Instrumentalist-Harmonica, Instrumentalist-Bass, and Song of the Year for Last Words of a Fool.

This five-piece, Chicago-style blues band has a robust, frisky, yet sexy tone and Norcia’s voice is one of the most distinctive, well-defined and recognizable instruments in modern blues. His recording titled Evening was nominated for five 2012 Blues Music Awards including: Album of the Year, Band of the Year, Traditional Blues Album, Instrumentalist-Harmonica and Instrumentalist-Bass.

Ray was inducted into Rhode Island’s Music Hall of Fame in 2012, as well as the Canadian South Hall of Fame. Nominated for three Grammy Awards, Ray was selected for a 2014 Grammy Award for his contribution on the album Remembering Little Walter, Blind Pig Records.  This same recording won two 2014 Blues Music Awards for Album of the Year and Traditional Blues Album.

Visit Sugar Ray and the Bluetones’ website.

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Slam Allen Band


Slam Allen has been entertaining with his unique blend of soul and blues for more than 20 years. Playing the famous Chitlin’ Circuit and performing around the world, Allen’s music has been shared with thousands of people. For the past five years he has played an important role in the legendary James Cotton Band (Cotton was Muddy Waters’ band leader). “It’s one of the highlights and privileges of my life to play with Cotton” says Allen, “He is one of the last living legends, and there’s so much history there.”  One could say music is in Allen’s blood — he got an early start from his father and uncles of The Allen Brothers Band. Slam carries on the family legacy and forms a familiar bond with the crowd.  “When I play,” says Allen, “people who may have never heard of me leave the show with a feeling like we’re old friends or family.”

Slam co-produced and performed on the Grammy-nominated Giant CD by James Cotton. He’s a New York State Blues Hall of Fame Master Musician inductee and a nominee for Best New CD by a New Artist by BMA in 2016.

From B.B. King and Otis Redding tunes to soulful blues originals, Slam has a way of slam-dunking your soul to the moon and back.

Visit Slam Allen Band’s website.

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Ilana Katz Katz

Between Sets

Singer, songwriter and fiddler, Ilana dives deep into the blues with her old-time, Appalachian fiddling. Her unique style has taken her to the stage and to the studio with greats such as Blues Music Award (BMA) Winner Ronnie Earl, BMA nominee Barry Levenson (Canned Heat), NY Blues Hall of Famer Bobby Radcliff, multi-Grammy nominated Cedric Watson and Grammy nominee Chas Justus. In addition to her Blues and Appalachian music mainstays, she is a versatile, improvisational musician, as comfortable performing solo in large theaters as she is being featured in 14-piece rock bands or on Boston’s subway platforms (where you can find her most Fridays).

On Ilana’s debut CD (2014), “I’ve Got Something To Tell You,” she earned a finalist spot for “Coolest Blues Song in the World 2015” by Big City Blues Magazine for her original “Marlyn’s Blues.” Ronnie Earl, who joined her on that record, also covered another of Ilana’s originals from that record – “Runnin’ in Peace” on his own “Good News” record. Her new CD (2016), “Movin’ On, features Ilana, Cedric Watson, Barry Levenson and Bobby Radcliff. Ilana’s melodic vocals and fiddling put an interesting spin on early traditional blues. She also tears it up on more modern originals and instrumentals. Don’t miss Ilana in between the other bands’ performances for non-stop, over-the-top blues!

Visit Ilana Katz Katz’s website.

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Damon Fowler

After spending much of the past year touring with the band Southern Hospitality, Damon Fowler is back with his third solo project for Blind Pig Records, Sounds of Home. Damon chose swamp blues master Tab Benoit to produce and record him at Tab’s rural Louisiana home studio, and their collaboration has resulted in Damon’s strongest effort to date. The tension between his measured, laid-back vocal delivery and the hallmark intensity of his guitar virtuosity has never been keener, and the stories told in his songwriting here – sometimes in collaboration with long-time writing partner Ed Wright and Benoit – exhibit a combination of depth, grace and humor very few of his contemporaries can match.

Visit Damon Fowler’s website.

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Ari and the Alibis

Friday, 6:00pm–7:15pm

Infusing funk, jazz and samba with blues soul and rock, Ari and the Alibis have created a memorable ear-catching sound. For having been together for just two years, this Sarasota, Florida fusion group, Ari and the Alibis, have already begun making serious waves in Florida’s vibrant music scene and carry the potential to spread their music far beyond state lines. They sport a sound often compared to Chicago, Tedeschi Trucks and Squirrel Nut Zippers.

Visit Ari and the Alibis’ website.

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Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones

Doug Deming is an American blues and roots guitarist/vocalist, born and raised in the Detroit area, currently residing on the Gulf coast of Florida. Doug is the 2013 recipient of the Blues Blast Music Awards’ Sean Costello Rising Star Award. Drawing influence from greats like T-Bone Walker, Charlie Christian and Robert Jr. Lockwood, Doug’s traditional taste and style are evident in his original music, with three recordings of primarily original tunes to his credit. Doug Deming & the Jewel Tones play traditional blues, West Coast and Texas swing, and early 50’s roots rock. This is real deal rocking’ rhythm & blues!

Photo Credit: Bird Stevens

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