Dave Hunt and Dave ‘Gator’ Allemang have each played blues for 30+ years in Kalamazoo Michigan. Each of them have led separate bands and have each competed in the IBC in with their own bands on several occasions. These friendly rivals formed an acoustic duo in 2014 to much acclaim going on to win the solo/due category in the Kalamazoo blues challenge in 2014 and 2016. They were warmly received at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN and, in 2017, played all the way up to and including the semi-final round.
“After all these years playing in a band, returning to acoustic roots is a challenging and exciting endeavor,” says Dave. (We’ll let you guess which Dave said it!)
Crossroads Resurrection is one of the definers of the Kalamazoo sound. Their unique, funky blend of blues, soul and swamp grooves, and their engaging stage show, has been winning awards and entertaining Michigan audiences for years. The band started out hosting a jam in Kalamazoo which became a huge attraction for some of the best players in the area. From this musical melting pot, this superb group was forged. The lineup consists of the big vocals and smooth sax playing of front man Eddie Lester, the stellar guitar and vocals of Dave Allemang, and the solid rhythm section of Ronnie “Coach” Parker on bass and Jeff Fernandez on drums.
Martila Sanders & Gee-Q is the product of a decade long evolution of one artist’s heart and a collective vision. Rooted in traditional blues and 70s era Motown funk, Martila and Gee-Q bring to life their own flavor of modern day blues and soul with a huge sound and unique chemistry. Behind the spectacular voice and sparkling personality of Martila Sanders lies a family of musicians with professional relationships spanning over three decades. The songwriting and collaboration process reaches for inspiration from the masters of the past, as well the hearts and souls of the players to create their own signature brand, coming to be well known as lower Michigan Power Blues, offering equal amounts of mojo for both the dance floor and the soul.
The Ries Brothers (pronounced ”Rees”), a duo from Tampa Bay, FL, blend rock, blues, funk, and reggae into a soulful-sophisticated sound. Older brother Charlie sings lead vocals while simultaneously playing drums and keyboard bass giving the band its unique and full sound. Younger brother Kevin Jordan completes the band’s “sonic creativity” on guitar, provides background vocals and co-writes many of their songs. They have twice toured nationally as the opening act for the iconic band CHICAGO. Their first 10 city tour with CHICAGO included a performance at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Last year they did a 15 city tour opening for the late Butch Trucks (Allman Brothers) & The Freight Train Band.
Shawn Holt is the son of Blues Legend Magic Slim. The high energy, hard-driving sound of The Teardrops is still alive and well and, if you like what Magic Slim and The Teardrops have been doing for the last 35 years, you can continue to enjoy that unique sound and energy with Shawn Holt – a chip off the old block – fronting his dad’s band. Shawn started playing the blues at the age of 17, when he went on the road with his father and Uncle Nick Holt and The Teardrops. Shortly after that tour with his father, Shawn realized his genetic destiny (all the Holt’s are talented musicians) and formed his own band. He has been watching, learning and playing blues ever since. Shawn Holt and The Teardrops are winners for Best New Artist Debut – Daddy Told Me by the Blues Foundation (BMA) 2014.
A musical force equipped with the soulful vocals of Janis and the guitar slinging skills of Stevie Ray, Carolyn Wonderland reaches into the depths of the Texas blues tradition with the wit of a poet. She hits the stage with unmatched presence, a true legend in her time. Living in Austin renewed Carolyn Wonderland’s focus on her multiple talents, underlining luxurious vocals with fine guitar work, trumpet, and piano, as well as that remarkable ability to whistle on key. A series of each-better-than-the-next discs began with Alcohol & Salvation in 2003 (“songs about booze and God; records are a time capsule of what happened that year”). Her music played in television series such as Time of Your Life and Homicide. Veteran players Kevin Lance on drums, and Bobby Perkins on bass, round out this Texas-blues power trio. Hold on to your hats!
Sugaray has fronted his own band since 2010, called the Sugaray Rayford Band. This band is currently made up of world-class musicians who tour extensively internationally. Ralph Carter on bass who is also Suga’s writing partner, Gino Matteo on guitar, Drake Munkihaid Shining on keyboards, Lavell Jones on drums, Allan Walker on sax, George Pandas on trumpet. Currently Allen Markel is substituting for Ralph on bass until Ralph can return. Leo Dombecki also joins in on 2nd keyboard and sax on select gigs. Jade Bennett also performs back up vocals on many projects. Sugaray Rayford is nominated for the prestigious BB King Entertainer award for the 38th Blues Music Awards! He is also nominated for Contemporary Blues Male Artist.
“There are concerts, and there are parties. West Coast blues man Sugaray Rayford made it clear from jump on Saturday night that he prefers the latter.” — Tad Dickens | The Roanoke Times
For over 30 years, The Fabulous Thunderbirds have been the quintessential American band. The group’s distinctive and powerful sound, influenced by a diversity of musical styles, manifested itself into a unique musical hybrid via such barnburners as Tuff Enuff and Wrap It Up. Co-founder Kim Wilson, the sole original member, still spearheads the group as it evolves into its newest incarnation. “We started as a straight blues band,” vocalist and harmonica player Wilson says. “We now incorporate a mixture of a lot of different styles. We’re an American music band and we’re much higher energy than we were before.” In addition to Wilson, the current Thunderbirds line-up features Jay Moeller on drums, Johnny Moeller and Mike Keller on guitar, and Randy Bermudes on bass.
“It was the sort of sound that brings me to my Arkansas and Mississippi Delta roots; blues that dig deep into the soul and touches me with multiple levels of instrumental vibrations and cerebral musings as the lyrics tell a story, as only the blues can tell it.” – Robert Kelly-Goss |The Daily Advance