Out of Favor Boys

Originally conceived in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2003, the Out of Favor Boys have evolved into a blues staple in Southwest Michigan. From its very beginning until the fall of 2014, OFB hosted a number of blues jams in and around Kalamazoo, including Wonderful’s Funky Basement, Boomerang’s, the Lamplighter, and The 411 Club.
ofbThese guys sure know how to get the party started and will prove that by opening the Sunday installment of Kalamazoo Blues Festival. Currently putting the finishing touches on their 5th album consisting of all original material, the band showcases the talents of Danny Ouellette (guitar/volcals), Joel Krauss (guitar/vocals), Tony Sproul (sax/vocals), Tim Brouhard (bass), and Tommy Ufkes (drums).

Kev Nichols & Blue Tuesday

knbtIf you’re looking for great live music that you’ll feel from the top of your head to the tips of your toes, look no further than this always exciting band: Kev Nichols & Blue Tuesday. Born out of some casual Tuesday night jam sessions in the basement studio of singer/songwriter Kev Nichols, this band of seasoned musical veterans is ready to give your ears a heaping helping of musical goodness. Your feet will tap, your hands will clap, and you’ll be moving to the music before you know it. Kev Nichols – Guitar & Vocals; Mike Crupi – Guitar, Harp, Keys, Sax, Lap Steel, Guitar; Heather Kulaga – Bass; and Rex Hambone – Drums.

Toronzo Cannon

“Deep, contemporary Chicago blues…razor-sharp guitar and compelling, forceful singing” – The Chicago Tribune

Cannon’s unofficial launch from local hero to national star took place on June 13, 2015 at the world-renowned Chicago Blues Festival where he performed as a festival headliner for the massive crowd. After announcing that he had just signed with Alligator Records, he delivered a riveting set, instantly earning tens of thousands of new fans.

toronzocannonFrom 1996 through 2002, Cannon played as a sideman for Tommy McCracken, Wayne Baker Brooks, L.V. Banks and Joanna Connor, but he was determined to prove himself. In 2001, while continuing to work as a hired-gun guitarist, he formed his own band, The Cannonball Express. By 2003, he was working exclusively as a band leader. Cannon’s first three albums — 2007’s My Woman (self-released), 2011’s Leaving Mood (Delmark) and 2013’s Blues Music Award-nominated John The Conqueror Root (Delmark) — document his rise from promising up-and-comer to star-in-the-making. With the release of BMA nominated The Chicago Way and a tour schedule that will take him coast to coast and around the globe, it’s only a matter of time until the rest of the world figures out what his hometown already knows: Toronzo Cannon is the real deal. His 2017 nominations for Contemporary Blues Artist BMA, and The Chicago Way for both Album and Contemporary Blues Album, and of Walk it Off as song of the year, show that paying the dues has rewards.

Alexis P. Suter

apsuterbandAlexis and her band have been the opening act for the following artists: Bo Diddley, Dickey Bets, BB King, Coco Montoya, Etta James, Buddy Guy, Allen Touissaint, Emmylou Harris, Johnny Winter, Elvis Costello and for the 20 year reunion of the Muddy Waters Band. She has been a guest on the “Imus in the Morning Show” and the “Artie Lange Show” in addition to being a featured artist in over 50 Blues and Roots festivals nationwide.

“Alexis P. Suter has a big voice and knows how to use it. Whether singing about spiritual ecstasy or earthly troubles, her booming contralto, seasoned with raw emotion make every song she performs her own. ” – Kay Cordt | Blues Revue Magazine

APSB are a powerful and unique 5 piece ensemble who artfully blend the lines between blues, soul and rock music. Alexis’ voice ranges from a pained passion to explosive and soul baring. Her band is also on fire, manned by the power trio of Bennett, Bennett and Grappone. Jimmy Bennett is a guitar phenomenon with a fierce and ferocious tone. Drummer Ray Grappone and Peter Bennett on bass lay down the groove like a heavy duty Rhythm and Blues machine. Along with the trio is the very talented backing vocalist Vicki Bell.

Bobby Rush

Bobby Rush is the greatest bluesman currently performing – period.

bobbyrushHis latest CD, Porcupine Meat, is a testament to his brilliance, which presents him at his very best, and doesn’t try to be anything that he is not. “I just try to record good music and stories,” he humbly states. With this recording, he has more than accomplished his goal, and has produced one of the finest contemporary blues albums in recent times — and won a Grammy for it at the February 2017 awards show. Rush estimates that he has cut over 345 songs since he first began making music. He has been honored with three Grammy nominations, as well as ten Blues Music Awards and 41 nominations. He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2006.

Rush has always been a prolific and clever songwriter. The songs he penned for Porcupine Meat such as Dress Too Short, I Don’t Want Nobody Hanging Around, Me, Myself And I, Nighttime Gardener, It’s Your Move, and the title selection, all equal or rival his best material.

With the performing fire in his belly, still a teen, Rush donned a fake moustache to play in local juke joints…later, residing in Chicago, he met and befriended his neighbor, Muddy Waters, and began working for Jimmy Reed. Through these connections he began performing on a circuit with Etta James, Howlin’ Wolf, and, of course, Muddy Waters, and Jimmy Reed. In 2007, he became the first blues artist to perform in China, earning him the title “International Dean of the Blues.” He was later named Friendship Ambassador to the Great Wall of China after performing the largest concert ever held at that site. Bobby Rush has toured in most major markets around the world, including Sydney, Australia; Paris, France; Tokyo, Japan; Shanghai, China; Johannesburg, South Africa; Berlin, Germany; Rome, Italy; Barcelona, Spain; Lucerne, Switzerland; New York, New York; Chicago, Illinois; Memphis, Tennessee; Los Angeles, California; to Jackson, Mississippi. And now…direct to you in Kalamazoo.