Marty Spaulding: The Man Behind The Music

When trying to come up with names of some of the foremost supporters of the blues in Southwest Michigan, Marty Spaulding’s name rises quickly to the top of the list.  

Originally from the Traverse City area (where he got bitten by the “blues bug” after an up-close-and-personal with BB King in the late 1970’s) , Marty migrated to southwest Michigan in 1989, settling in the small community of Three Rivers, where he soon became involved in the local political, business and music scenes.

One of his first endeavors was contacting Kalamazoo’s “new” rock station WRKR in the summer of 1990, and asking if they would be “interested” in a blues show. To his amazement, they called him back, AND hired him. Ed Sackley, the station’s owner, had gone to college in Chicago and found the idea worthy of support. Program Director Bill Martin gave it the high five, and the rest is history.

Soon the WRKR “Sunday Blues”, which Marty hosted for exactly 10 years .. from Labor Day weekend 1990 to Labor Day weekend 2000 .. was born. It was one of the first blues shows “netcast” on the internet, and had online listeners as far away as Sweden and Germany who would often email in requests.

He was soon knee-deep in promoting not just local venues, but also the blues scenes as far away as Chicago and Detroit, making regular pilgrimages to the legendary clubs of the era and meeting all of the artists, regional promoters and blues record label people that he could. They all either embraced him, or avoided him like the plague.

During this time he also operated several businesses, including Main Street Music, a music and instrument store, for 5 years in the mid 1990’s in downtown Three Rivers. He also served on the Three Rivers Human Rights Commission (HRC) and then as a Three Rivers City Commissioner for several years in the 1990s.  Those positions gave him an opportunity to meld music and policy, and soon the Three Rivers “HarmonyFest” was born.

Marty Spaulding with Carl Weathersby at the 411 Club

Arranged in less than 30 days with less than $2000 in funding (mostly his own), the first  TR HarmonyFest was headlined by a personal favorite (and long time friend afterward) Morris “Magic Slim” Holt.  The next year, the Kalamazoo Blues Festival was born.

Marty soon found himself being asked to join the national nominating committee for the prestigious “W.C. Handy Blues Awards” (now known as the “Blues Music Awards (BMAs), a position he held for almost 20 years before becoming a member of a smaller sub-committee.  The “blues conduit” was being laid.

It wasn’t long before he collaborated with others, including Kalamazoo State Theatre manager Kevin Brady, Wonderful’s manager Tom “Turk” Machin, and other blues venue operators (and the KVBA through Larry Bevins and many others) to bring the blues to prominent stages here.

The Kalamazoo State Theatre “Budweiser Blues series” is just the tip of the iceberg of  those collaborations, and the list of blues artists who have played the HarmonyFest, the Kalamazoo Blues Festival, The Kalamazoo State Theatre and Wonderful’s blues club because of these collaborations is a “who’s who” of the period:

Albert Collins; BB King; Jimmy Dawkins; Li’l Ed;  Lonnie Brooks; Carey Bell; Larry McCray; Alberta Adams; Koko Taylor; Jimmy Johnson; Magic Slim; Tab Benoit; Luther Allison; Jimmy Rogers; Tommy Castro; Son Seals; and dozens, or hundreds, more.

Marty also became personally active in promoting the careers of several artists during the mid and late 1990s, personally arranging three Midwest tours for the late Black Top label artist Bobby Parker, and “finding gigs” in the area for artists including Robert “Smokey” Wilson, Phillip Walker, “Long” John Hunter, and many more.

Also in the later part of the 90’s, with the co-operation of WRKR, the Kalamazoo Blues Festival was actually broadcast LIVE on both the radio station, reaching 100 miles away, and the internet, reaching the entire planet, for several years in a row.

Marty, now owner and manager of the popular Paisano’s Ristorante in downtown Three Rivers, continued booking artists into the new millennium. He’s especially proud of his association with the great blues and soul guitarist Robert Ward. Robert had been an early member of the Wilson Pickett road band, and was later a session musician for the legendary Motown Records (“Thelma” label as a solo artist), and later a member of the “Ohio Untouchables”, which morphed into the 1970s funk/soul band the “Ohio Players”.

Robert is “that guitar” on many unaccredited tracks from the Temptations, Undisputed Truth (“Smiling Faces”) and others on Motown. He enjoyed a second wave of popularity after disappearing from the music scene for almost 20 years after Motown left Detroit for LA in 1973.  In the early 90’s, after his career had found a resurgence because of his recent recordings for the New Orleans based “Black Top” records, Robert appointed Marty his manager after the two had become friends at a show in Minneapolis.

He then came to the area for two tours with local musicians as “his band” (he didn’t really have one and seldom toured) and performed in Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Angola IN, St Joe MI, Three Rivers, Lansing and Buddy Guy’s “Legends” in Chicago.  (Ask Jim Beebe, Greg Orr, Mike Curtis, Brian Shetterly or Greg Rokiciak about Robert Ward. I’ll bet they smile.)  Marty also negotiated the contract for Ward’s final recording, “New Role Soul”, which was released by Chicago-based Delmark Records in 2000.

Marty, who in his other life has been the General Manager of Title Check LLC since 1990, relocated to Kalamazoo in the early 2000’s, where he opened the Metro Diner and Nightclub in 2003.  On Labor Day weekend, 2008, Marty stepped up to fill a large void in the Kalamazoo live blues scene by opening the 411 Club, a very popular gathering place for blues and music fans that has seen the best in national, regional, and local blues acts appear on its stages since its opening weekend, when EC Scott and Magic Slim and the Teardrops played to packed houses.

Marty and the 411 Club have been some of the foremost supporters of the Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association, offering members’ benefits as well as hosting KVBA fundraising and social events.  The 411 Club has also been one of the principal sponsors of the Kalamazoo Blues Festival and KVBA programs and activities.

In summary, suffice it to say that, without the presence of Marty Spaulding, a great many performers and acts would have never appeared in our area, a great many of the KVBA’s needs would have gone unfilled, and our whole music scene would have been so much poorer.  Hats off to Marty, the Man Behind The Music!

“I’m The One—The One They Call The Seventh Son”

27 Years With Kalamazoo’s Oldest Continually-Performing Blues Band

The myth of the seventh son, one of the classic themes in blues folklore, holds that the seventh son of a seventh son is given or possesses special powers; that he is preordained to be a maker of things, a healer, lucky or a devil. Blues great Willie Dixon wrote the well-known song about the magical seventh son that, since being released as a single by Willie Mabon on Chess Recordsin 1955, has been recorded and performed countless times by performers as diverse as Johnny Rivers, John Mellencamp, Mose Allison and, of course, Willie Dixon.

Seventh Son at the 411 Club

Perhaps some or all of that was in the minds of Dave Hunt, Doug Beckman, and Steve Kovach when they got together and began practicing in 1986, creating the band that played its first paying gig in February of 1987 (at the now long-defunct Park West Pub), and has been performing steadily ever since.  While there have been a few personnel changes over the years (far fewer than in most groups), Seventh Son has remained on the scene as a well-respected musical presence, while playing a seminal role in the formation of the Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association and the first Kalamazoo Blues Festivals, over twenty years ago.  And as if that weren’t enough, the (appropriately enough) seven-piece band has represented the KVBA as a competitor at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, most recently in January of this year.  In many ways, the history of Seventh Son is bound up with the history of the blues in Kalamazoo.

Seventh Son founder Dave Hunt (vocals, harmonica) had been playing locally with Black Cat Bone when he met newcomers to the music scene Doug Beckman (keyboard, slide guitar) and Steve Kovach (drums).  The band came together with Mike Espy on guitar and Dave Homer on bass, and played several gigs around town before Patrick Banks replaced Dave Homer.  When Mike Espy left the band in the late 1980’s, Arnold Langley (later well-known and loved as Dr. Bones) stepped in on guitar for close to a year before Mike Waldron (now based in Nashville, Mike has been playing with Lee Ann Womack for some time) came on board.  Mike, too, was with the band for about a year, leaving in 1990 to be replaced by Scott Matteson, Seventh Son’s smoking guitar man to this day.

Dave Cleveland, who still rocks the keyboards with the band, took over from Doug Beckman in 1990, although Beckman frequently sits in for a set on slide in his signature Delta blues style.  Brendon Frank took a turn on bass for a few years before Bill Hughes came on board in 2008, where he remains today.  The final shape of the band came together in 1992 with the addition of a horn section, consisting originally of John Foster on trumpet and Dave Sheens on saxophone, with the current lineup of John Blissard and Todd Jones (both on saxophone) since 1994.

Seventh Son in 1990, with Dave Sheens, Dave Hunt, Steve Kovach, Dave Cleveland, Scott Matteson, Patrick Banks, and John Foster.

The list of clubs the band played back in the day reads like a history of blues venues in Kalamazoo and the surrounding region:  Missias’, Club Soda, the Kozy Inn, Carlos Murphy’s, Wonderful’s, the Lamplighter, the Comfort Inn in Plainwell, the Rosebud in Grand Haven, the State Theater, the Silver Bullet, and others too numerous to mention, many of which have long ago left the scene.  Dave Hunt was a founding member of the Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association and served as president for a time, as well as acting as a driving force in the creation of the Kalamazoo Blues Festival, while Doug Beckman sat for a term on the KVBA Board of Directors.  Doug was also, with Mike Irelan, the KVBA’s Blues in the Schools team for close to twenty years.  Seventh Son has appeared on the Festival stages many times over the years, as well as appearing at the IBC in 2006 and 2014.

We are truly fortunate in southwest Michigan to have such a vibrant blues community, with so many talented artists, a thriving blues festival, and countless opportunities to hear live music and keep this great American art form alive.  Seventh Son has been on the scene for most of it, and continues to play today.  Be sure to catch them on Saturday, July 12, when they wrap up the 21st Annual Kalamazoo Blues Festival and close out one more great celebration of the blues in style!

“What A Great Surprise!” Plainwell HS Marching Band Star Wins Second Bob Peters Scholarship

The 2014 KVBA Boogie Woogie Bob Peters Music Scholarship has been awarded to Luke Swoboda, of Plainwell High School.  Luke, who was chosen from a number of talented and highly qualified applicants, was pleasantly surprised to receive the news that he had been named the second winner of the new award jointly created by the family of Bob Peters and the Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association.

Luke Swoboda

Luke has been playing the trumpet since sixth grade, but it was an inspiring section leader who led him to dedicate himself to performing with the school’s marching band throughout his high school career. “That’s when I started to love it,” says Luke, who went on to step into the role of section leader himself in his last two years of school.  Luke, who also played with the concert, jazz, and pep bands as well as performing in solo and ensemble arrangements, was named best section leader for marching band in his senior year.

“Music inspired me to set goals and strive to reach them,” Luke notes.  ”It helped me to gain habits of hard work and discipline that will be applicable to the rest of my life.”  That drive and discipline resulted in Luke’s being awarded the John Philip Sousa Award, which recognizes outstanding dedication and superior musicianship in a high school student.  Called “the pinnacle of achievement in a high school band program”, the award has become a nationwide symbol of excellence in musical achievement.  Luke, who was nominated for the award by his band director, carries on the tradition started by his father, who was also a recipient of the Sousa Award at Plainwell.

The KVBA Boogie-Woogie Bob Peters Music Scholarship was established in 2013 by the family of “Boogie-Woogie” Bob Peters, a well-known and talented keyboardist, guitar player, and music historian, who passed away in March of 2010.  Peters, a popular figure on the local music scene for many years, was dedicated to using music to communicate and connect with others on many levels, leaving behind a legacy of music and relationships that has been kept alive by his family and friends.  Martie Peters, Bob’s wife, and his sister TJ and brother Mike, teamed up with the KVBA to create and fund the scholarship, which is awarded to an area high school student based on his or her school and community involvement in music.

Martie Peters and Luke Swoboda

“Bob was incredibly passionate about music,” says Martie Peters.  “The scholarship is a way of keeping Bob alive in our hearts and minds, and passing along some of his passion to others with similar passion.  It means so much to me to know that through this scholarship we’re helping to keep Bob’s memory alive in the hearts and minds of so many people.”

“The things I’ve learned through my musical experience will stay with me,” says Luke, who plans to study engineering at Western Michigan University, possibly with an eye toward designing high-tech prosthetics.  ”Where can you go that you don’t hear music?  I know I’ll always have this in my life.”

Luke will be formally presented with the KVBA award at 6:00 pm on Friday, July 11, at the 21st Annual Kalamazoo Blues Festival, at the Arcadia Festival Site in downtown Kalamazoo.  Be sure to be there to help cheer him on!

Selwyn Birchwood Signed To Alligator Records; Releases New Album

by Mike Irelan

If you liked Selwyn Birchwood at last year’s Kalamazoo Blues Festival, you will be very happy with his new Alligator Records release, “Don’t Call No Ambulance”. It is a showcase for what we saw live on the festival stage in 2013, featuring 12 songs all written and performed by Selwyn, with sax, bass and drums backing him. Joe Louis Walker, among others, sits in and adds to the mix.

I really like the song “ Brown Paper Bag”. The CD covers many styles of blues, so there is a little something for everybody. The liner notes say it best:  the album “captures the thrill of Selwyn’s live shows”, “embracing an eclectic mix of sounds and styles: ballads, traditional blues, funk and rootsy swamp rock”.

“Don’t Call No Ambulance” will be available June 9th.  Alligator was kind enough to send me a promo, which you will be hearing on Bluespower!

21st ANNUAL BLUES FESTIVAL VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES

Volunteer For the Festival! Have Fun! Help the KVBA! Get In Free!

Amazing, the Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association is celebrating its 21st Annual Blues Festival this year!  We were so excited to present our 20th festival last year, and we are even more thrilled about the upcoming 21st!

Thank You, Thank You to all the volunteers we have had over the 20 years of Blues Festivals!  We are again asking for your help to make our 21st successful. Former volunteers and first-time volunteers are welcome!  The Festival dates are July 10, 11, and 12, 2014. The Festival is held at the Arcadia Festival Site in downtown Kalamazoo.

All volunteers get into the Festival free on the day/s they volunteer.  In addition, each person receives a t-shirt that he or she wears when volunteering.   We have many people return year after year, and many exclaim, “It was so much fun, sign me up for next year”.

Working in the Children’s Tent

We ask volunteers to serve 3 hour shifts in various areas such as ticket, merchandise, and soft drink sales; main gate, service gate, volunteer, hospitality, and beer tents; festival services and children’s activities, and vendor ticket collection.   In addition a few volunteers are needed for set up on Wednesday and teardown on Sunday morning.  There’s a special need this year for volunteers to help in the children’s area—we are looking for people with interests and skills to work with children on a variety of fun projects, including tie-dying Blues Festival t-shirts, a popular activity in years past.

See a more detailed description of duties involved in each area on the form titled VOLUNTEER POSITIONS.  If you are interested in volunteering, please print and fill out the VOLUNTEER REGISTRATION FORM found on the KVBA website at www.kvba.org.

Return the Registration Form to:  Volunteer Coordinator, 2520 Bruce Dr., Kalamazoo, MI 49008, or email to king-nancy@att.net

It is important to indicate the number of DAY/S and TIME/S that you would like to work. Please indicate the name of the person you would like to be assigned to if applicable.

Times in specific areas may be slightly different than listed on the registration form.   You will be informed by postcard to confirm the day/s and time/s of your assignment.

Hope to see you in July for great music, to see friends, and have fun!!

Questions?  Call Nancy at 269.342.5733 or email: king-nancy@att.net

Into The Third decade: 21st Annual Kalamazoo Blues Festival set for July 10-12, 2014

23 National, Regional, and Local Blues Acts to Appear at Popular Three-day Festival!

Whether this will be your first year or your 21st at Kalamazoo’s annual blues festival, you’re in for a treat. For three days in July, the Arcadia Festival Site in downtown Kalamazoo will be filled with music and fun, as a total of 23 performers from across the nation and across the years appear on two stages to delight music fans both old and new.

Happy Crowd at the Kalamazoo Blues Festival

Old hands on the southwest Michigan scene know to expect to hear the best of the blues at the 21st Annual Kalamazoo Blues Festival, and newcomers will be pleasantly surprised. Acts as diverse as piano sensation Marcia Ball and seasoned performers Tinsley Ellis and Coco Montoya will be on the scene, along with the electrifying singer/songwriter Dana Fuchs and up and comers like Brandon Santini, as well as a lively sampling of local and regional acts.

The three-day celebration of blues music, culture, and history offers continuous performances on two stages; a variety of free workshops covering topics such as guitar and harmonica techniques, slide guitar secrets, and homemade instruments; a large children’s activity area; a great selection of blues-related merchandise; a shade tent for those hot July days; and a wide variety of food and drink vendors. For the second year in a row, the price of an advance weekend pass includes entrance into the very popular post-festival blues jam, held Thursday night at the 411 Club.

The Kalamazoo Blues Festival is presented by the Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association, which was created more than two decades ago by a group of dedicated music lovers for the express purpose of putting on a festival.  Staffed entirely by volunteers, the festival is rated highly by performers and attendees alike, and has earned the right to be known as “the best blues festival in the Midwest.” Over the years, the list of performers who have appeared onstage includes many of the best-known names in the blues, including Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Son Seals, Joe Louis Walker, Lonnie Brooks, and Magic Slim and the Teardrops. The first festival of the third decade promises to be no exception!

Advance sales of weekend passes will begin June 1, online at kvba.org (go to the “Blues Fest/Advance Tickets tab), and at various retailers around the region, including the 411 Club, all ECCU branches, Kalamazoo State Theater, Marshall Music, the Union Bar and Grill, Bottoms Up, Green Light Music, and Salut Fine Wine and Spirits.  An updated list of retailers will be available on the KVBA website.

Crossroads Resurrection Plays A Sunset Show

 

The cost of an advance weekend pass will be $20, which represents a $12 savings over the total price of daily tickets for all events.  Daily festival ticket prices will be $5 for Thursday night, $10 for Friday night, and $12 for Saturday; the Thursday night jam will be $5 at the door.

Watch the KVBA website regularly for the latest updates in Festival developments.

Some of the weekend highlights include:

Thursday, July 10

The Jimmys, a Chicago blues- and New Orleans funk-influenced 8-piece band that has gathered numerous music awards, including 2013 Artist of the Year and 2013 Blues Performer of the Year (Madison Area Music Awards). “Killer horns, greasy guitars, funky keys, and a rhythm section with the heart and soul the size of Brazil”—the Braille Blues Daddy, Bryan Lee

Brandon Santini, the North Carolina-born/Memphis, Tenn. based harp player, whose specialty is Piedmont-infused Mississippi hill country blues, has received Blues Music Award nominations for 2014 in two categories, Instrumentalist-Harmonica and Contemporary Blues Album. He also received a 2014 Blues Blast Music Award in the category of Sean Costello Rising Star, as well as a Seydel harmonica endorsement—truly a young man to watch.

Friday, July 11 

Dana Fuchs, a powerhouse singer/songwriter hailing from New Jersey/Florida/New York City, is known as a queen of Pop/Rock Blues, while the Dana Fuchs Band has built up a reputation as one of the best live acts on the Big Apple’s blues circuit. Probably best recognized as the character “Sadie” from the Beatles-music-themed movie “Across the Universe,” Fuchs also landed the lead role in the Janis Joplin musical “Love Janis’,” toured with Ray Davies and Dickey Betts, and wrote and performed on the soundtrack of the movie “Sherrybaby.”

Lionel Young Band. The New York-born, Colorado-based blues & Boogie-woogie violin master won the 2008 International Blues Challenge (IBC) in the solo-duo performer category, and then, with the Lionel Young Band, went on to win the 2011 IBC band competition, making him the first double champion in the history of the IBC!

Marcia Ball, “a sensational, saucy singer and superb pianist,” whose style is known as “where Texas stomp-rock and Louisiana blues-swamp meet,” Marcia Ball has gathered awards and recognitions including multiple Blues Music Awards and Grammy nominations in 1998, 2003, 2005 and 2008. A lot of folks are looking forward to the return of Marcia Ball, who last rocked the Kalamazoo Blues Fest in 1998!

Saturday, July 12 

Tweed Funk, the Milwaukee band fronted by Joseph “Smokey” Holman, who recorded under Curtis Mayfield in the early 70’s, has garnered national and international acclaim for its horn-driven, sweat-soaked, soul-blues, and boasts three Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) wins in the last two years for the band and its members, as well as Big City Rhythm & Blues Magazine’s 2013 Coolest Blues Song of the Year for “Dancemaker.”

Albert Castiglia, the New York-born, Miami-raised guitar player who features modern electric and contemporary blues, has toured with Junior Wells and Sandra Hall, and shared stages and jammed with an impressive lists of blues greats including Aron Burton, Pinetop Perkins, Melvin Taylor, Sugar Blue, Phil Guy, Ronnie Earl, Billy Boy Arnold, Ronnie Baker Brooks, John Primer, Lurrie Bell, Jerry Portnoy, Larry McCray, Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater and Otis Clay.

Tinsley Ellis, from Georgia, plays modern electric blues and blues-rock that is best described as a “unique blend of Memphis r & b, southwest blues and urban funk.” An outstanding performer, Ellis is also known for writing “A Quitter Never Wins,” that was famously covered by Jonny Lang.

Coco Montoya, from California, with a style described as modern electric blues and soul, won the 1996 Handy Award for Best New Blues Artist, as well as being nominated in the same year for Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year, Best Instrumentalist/Guitar, and Contemporary Blues Album of The Year for “Gotta Mind To Travel.”

2014 Kalamazoo Blues Festival – Official Lineup

Thursday, July 10: gates open at 4:30 p.m.

5:00 SneakyPete

5:55 Big Trouble

6:50 Big Boss Blues Band

7:45 The Jimmys

9:05   Brandon Santini

10:30 Blues Jam (at the 411 Club)

 Friday, July 11: gates open at 4:30 p.m.

5:00 Stan Budzynski

6:00 Steve Hilger Band

7:00 Dana Fuchs

8:30 Lionel Young Band

10:00 Marcia Ball

11:35 Crossroads Resurrection

Saturday, July 12: gates open at 11:30 a.m.

11:40 Too Left Feet

12:15 The Blues Shed

1:10 The Angelo Santelli Band

2:05 SWB

3:00 Fifi & The Dogs

3:55 Gee Daddy’s Big Blues Review

4:50 Out of Favor Boys

5:45 Tweed Funk

7:00 Albert Castiglia

8:25 Tinsley Ellis

10:00 Coco Montoya

11:35 Seventh Son

 

 

 

 

District Square Summer Blues Series

The District Square Summer Blues Series is upon us! KVBA Members are eligible to receive a series pass for the low, low price of $20 and only available with your current membership card at either the District Square Box Office or Perry Harley-Davidson. You can also purchase tickets on-line.  Individual show prices vary from $5 to $10 – check out the District Square Blues Series web sitefor all the details, but read on for the short version!

Kev Nichols at the District Square Summer Blues Series

Party time starts on Fridays at 7pm in the great outdoors (excepting the May 30th show which starts earlier!). You can bring your lawn chair or use a chair already there.  As you can see from the lineup below, this is going to be a splendid lineup with artists we see in and around Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, Jackson, Lansing, Battle Creek, Ann Arbor, and will also have a sprinkling of National Touring Bands as well.

District Square wants you “bluesers” to feel right at home and encourages you to check out the rest of the venues at the Entertainment District while you are there. Most of the time you can make your way to the District Square outdoor event area from any of the main entrances to the Entertainment District, your quickest and easiest entrance is at the Wild Bull on Edwards St in downtown Kalamazoo.

Big Boss Blues 5.23.14 Doors 7pm, music 8pm
JR Clark & The All Star Blues Mob 5.30.14* Doors 5pm, music 5pm
Out of Favor Boys 5.30.14* Doors at 7pm, music at 8pm
Harper 6.6.14 Doors 7pm, music 8pm
Chris Canas 6.13.14 Doors 7pm, music 8pm
Kevin Nichols 6.20.14 doors 7pm, music 8pm
Steepwater Band 6.27.14 doors 7pm music 8pm
Kalamazoo Blues Festival 7.10 – 7.12.14
Crossroads Resurrection 7.18.14 doors 7pm, music 8pm
Nick Moss Band 7.25.14 doors 7pm, music 8pm
Gee Daddy Big Blues Review 8.1.14 doors 7pm, music 8pm
Anthony Gomes 8.8.14 doors 7pm, music 8pm
Seventh Son Blues Band | Marci Linn Band 8.15.14* doors 7pm, music 8pm
Vincent Hayes 8.22.14 doors 7pm, music 8pm
Joanne Shaw Taylor 8.29.14 doors 7pm, music 8pm
* two-fer blues shows on 5.30 and 8.15

KVBA, Sneaky Pete, Create Excitement At The 2014 Kalamazoo Marathon

It was a beautiful day for the 2014 Kalamazoo Marathon, and the KVBA was there to help cheer the runners on!  The brave members of Sneaky Pete got up way earlier than musicians usually do and braved the chilly early morning temperatures to energize the runners of the 10K, Half Marathon, and Full Marathon with the best in the blues, while KVBA board members and other blues fans danced, waved, and cheered the runners on.  The action took place at the Mile 23 watering station in Spring Valley Park, where some of the runners were reaching hard for the last of their of energy to finish the race.  As tired as they were, many of the runners had smiles and waves for the KVBA as they passed.  Here’s hoping to see many of those same folks at the 21st Annual Kalamazoo Blues Festival, July 10, 11, and 12.  Spread the word!

Be Part of the KVBA Excitement Zone at the Kalamazoo Marathon, Sunday, May 4!

KVBA Member Band Sneaky Pete to Host Blues Jam 

The Kalamazoo Marathon (aka The Borgess Run)  is one of the biggest community happenings of the season, and YOU can be part of it!  This great race event, which includes a full marathon as well as other races of many lengths, continues to grow every year, attracting thousands of people from across the country and beyond.  This year all of our KVBA members are invited to be part of the community-wide celebration!

Sneaky Pete will be playing an “extended set” at the excitement zone near the 23 mile water station (in Spring Valley Park). We’re pretty sure there will be some special guests on the music side of things…and you are invited to come out and join in the fun and cheer on the marathoners as they pass.  KVBA board members will be on hand to coordinate things and distribute information about the upcoming 21st Annual Kalamazoo Blues Festival, happening at the Arcadia Festival Site July 10, 11, and 12.

Things are going to be happening from right around 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m (or perhaps a little later) this Sunday,  May 4.  Come on down and join the party!

KVBA Announces Headliners For The 2014 Kalamazoo Blues Festival

In a special announcement on Sunday, March 9 at the final show in the popular series of concerts to benefit the Kalamazoo Blues Festival, KVBA Festival Coordinator Dennis Massingill and Board President Ralph Yingling revealed the names of many of the acts scheduled to appear at the upcoming 21st Annual Kalamazoo Blues Fest.  In making the presentation, Massingill and Yingling noted that the complete list of performers, including several local acts, will be announced in the near future.

In the meantime, here’s some information about some of the great music you can expect to hear in July:

Thursday Lineup

The Jimmys, an 8-piece band with US and European touring experience.  Influenced by Chicago blues and New Orleans funk, the band and many of its members have been the recipients of numerous music awards, including:

“2012 Best Swing/Big Band Ensemble” (Wisconsin Area Music Industry)
2013 Madison Area Music Awards:
2013 Artist of the Year: The Jimmys
2013 Blues Performer of the Year: The Jimmys
2013 Keyboardist of the Year: Jimmy Voegeli
2013 Brass Instrumentalist: Darren Sterud
2013 Woodwind Instrumentalist: Peterson Ross

“Killer horns, greasy guitars, funky keys, and a rhythm section with the heart and soul the size of Brazil. This is a GREAT band that plays blues and everything else between. I would take them into the studio and record with them anytime. They’re a ‘good-un’. Get ready for The Jimmys!” – The Braille Blues Daddy – Bryan Lee

Brandon Santini, the North Carolina-born/Memphis, Tennessee-based harp player, whose specialty is Piedmont-infused Mississippi hill country blues, has received Blues Music Award nominations  for 2014 in two categories: Instrumentalist-Harmonica, and Contemporary Blues Album.  He also received a 2014 Blues Blast Music Award in the category of Sean Costello Rising Star, as well as a Seydel harmonica endorsement

Santini, who hits the road on March 20th to begin his spring tour (in Florida), is truly one of the rising stars.  Remember Victor Wainwright, who was a big hit at the 2013 Festival? They are former room-mates, band-mates, and still remain great friends…artistry inspires more artistry.

Friday Lineup

Dana Fuchs, hailing from New Jersey/Florida/New York City, is known as a queen of Pop/Rock Blues, while the Dana Fuchs Band has built up a reputation as one of the best live acts on the city’s blues circuit

Probably best recognized as the character “Sadie” from the Beatles-music-themed movie “Across the Universe”, Fuchs also landed the lead role in the Janis Joplin musical “Love Janis’”, toured with Ray Davies and Dickey Betts, and wrote and performed on the soundtrack of the movie “Sherrybaby”.

Lionel Young.  New York born, Colorado based, the blues & boogie-woogie violin master won the 2008 International Blues Challenge (IBC )in the solo-duo performer category, and then went on to win the 2011 IBC band competition, making him the first double champion in the history of the IBC!

Marcia Ball .  A lot of folks are looking forward to the return of Marcia Ball, who last rocked the Kalamazoo Blues Fest in 1998.
Aptly described as “a sensational, saucy singer and superb pianist”, her style is known as “where Texas stomp-rock and Louisiana blues-swamp meet”.  Her many awards and recognitions include:

1998: Grammy Award nomination
1998: Blues Music Award for “Best Contemporary Blues Album”
1998: Blues Music Award for “Contemporary Female Vocalist of the Year” and “Best Blues Instrumentalist-Keyboards”
2002: BMA Contemporary Blues Album of the Year for her album “Presumed Innocent”
2004: BMA Contemporary Blues Album of the Year for her album “So Many Rivers”
2004: BMA Contemporary Blues Artist of the Year-Female
2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009: BMA “Best Blues Instrumentalist-Keyboards”
Grammy nominations in 2003 for “So Many Rivers,” 2005 for “Live! Down The Road”, and 2008 for “Peace, Love & BBQ”

Saturday Lineup

Tweed Funk. Formed in late 2010, Tweed Funk has garnered national and international acclaim for its horn-driven,
sweat-soaked, soul-blues. This Milwaukee, Wisconsin band is fronted by Joseph “Smokey” Holman, who
recorded under Curtis Mayfield in the early 70′s. Tweed Funk boasts three Wisconsin Area Music Industry
(WAMI) wins in the last two years for the band and its members. Tweed Funk’s two CD releases and performances at blues festivals and top bluesrooms have earned the band praise from press and media around the world.

Big City Rhythm & Blues Magazine’s 2013 Coolest Blues Song of the Year for Dancemaker
2013 WAMI Winner, Male Vocalist of the Year: Joseph “Smokey” Holman
2013 WAMI Winner, Bass Player of the Year: Eric Madunic
2012 WAMI Winner, R&B/Soul Artist of the Year

2012 Competitor at the  International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN

Albert Castiglia.  New York born ,Miami raised, Castiglia features modern electric blues and contemporary blues. He has toured with Junior Wells and Sandra Hall, and shared stages and jammed with Aron Burton, Pinetop Perkins, Melvin Taylor, Sugar Blue, Phil Guy, Ronnie Earl, Billy Boy Arnold, Ronnie Baker Brooks, John Primer, Lurrie Bell, Jerry Portnoy, Larry McCray, Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater and Otis Clay.

Tinsley Ellis, from Georgia, plays modern electric blues and blues-rock, best described as a “unique blend of Memphis r & b, southwest blues, and urban funk”. An outstanding performer, also known for writing “A Quitter Never Wins” that was famously covered by Jonny Lang.

He has shared stages with Warren Haynes, Widespread Panic, The Allman Brothers Band, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmy Thackery, Otis Rush, Willie Dixon, Son Seals, Koko Taylor, Albert Collins and Buddy Guy. He often plays smaller venues that allow the band a more personal contact with the audience.

Coco Montoya, from California, with a style described as modern electric blues and soul, won the 1996 Handy Award for Best New Blues Artist, as well as being
nominated in the same year for Contemporary Blues Male Artist Of The Year, Best Instrumentalist/Guitar, and Contemporary Blues Album Of The Year for “Gotta Mind To Travel.”

Keep your eyes on this space for more information about the 2014 Kalamazoo Blues Festival!

 

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