Going into its 7th year this Friday, June 22 at Music City Theater in Linden, the 2012 T-Bone Walker Blues Fest continues a tradition of bringing to audiences, a combination of internationally recognized blues masters, lesser known but solid blues artists, and up-and-coming young blues musicians with a promising future. Check out this year’s line-up and you’ll see why you’ll wish you could be in two places at the same time.
Headlining this year’s T-Bone is one of the most captivating blues performers to grace the Music City Texas stage – Kevin Moore. Keb’ was our headliner for our first festival.
It was standing room only and the audience was spellbound. Keb’ Mo’ is a three–time Grammy Award winner for Best Contemporary Blues Album; and a key figure in the acclaimed 2003 PBS series Martin Scorsese Presents the Blues.
Keb’ Mo’ draws heavily on the old-fashioned country blues style of Robert Johnson while keeping his sound contemporary with touches of soul and folksy storytelling. A skilled frontman as well as an accomplished sideman, he writes much of his own material and has applied his acoustic, electric, and slide guitar skills to jazz- and rock-oriented bands.
Keb’ Mo’ has been honored by the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame with a number of W C Handy Blues Awards to include 1999 Song of the Year, 1994 Country/Acoustic Blues Album of the Year, 1999 & 2000 Contemporary Blues Male Artist of the Year, and Acoustic Blues Artist of the Year every year from 1997 through 2002.
The Music City Texas Theater only seats 400 and 200 seats go to sponsors. There is not a bad seat in the house and the feeling is one of having a private concert in your home. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear Keb’ Mo’ up close and personal. Keb’ Mo’ performs on the Music City Texas Stage at 11pm Saturday June 23.
(Editor’s note: As many know, Michael Burks has unexpectedly passed away recently. Fellow Alligator recording artists Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials will be taking his place)
Guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Michael “Iron Man” Burks stands tall as a major contemporary blues figure. With a nickname earned by his hours-long, intensely physical performances, fearsome guitar attack, tough, smoky vocals and the thousands of miles logged behind the wheel of his touring van, Burks is a modern blues hero. Nobody in today’s blues world successfully bridges searing electric guitar blues with unbridled rock and roll energy like Burks. Michael received three Blues Music Award nominations for his work on the CD, I Smell Smoke, including Contemporary Blues Album of The Year and Blues Song of The Year for the title track.
Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials join the Lineup
It was a sad day when we learned that we had lost our headliner and neighbor from just up the road in Camden, Arkansas – the great Michael Burks. Our hearts and prayers went out to his family and friends; then, we started the process of reorganizing the festival’s lineup on 5 weeks notice. His fellow Alligator Records-mate Lil’ Ed stepped up to take his place at this year’s fundraiser.
From working at Chicago’s Red Carpet Car Wash to appearing on national television, from gigging at the smallest ghetto blues bars to performing on the biggest international concert stages, master bluesman Lil’ Ed Williams has come a long way. Mixing smoking slide guitar boogies and raw-boned Chicago shuffles with the deepest slow-burners, Lil’ Ed and his blistering Blues Imperials — bassist James “Pookie” Young, guitarist Mike Garrett and drummer Kelly Littleton — deliver the blues, from gloriously riotous and rollicking to intensely emotional and moving. Not since the heyday of Hound Dog Taylor & The HouseRockers has a blues band made such a consistently joyful noise. Currently celebrating 24 rip-roaring years together, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials ply their musical talents with skills that have been honed to a razor’s edge. As much a family as a band, Lil’ Ed, Pookie, Mike and Kelly have outlasted sports stars and presidents, musical fads and fashion trends. And together, they continue to make blues history with each and every performance and new recording.
Bill Lynch & the MidWestern Icons
Bill Lynch is a Midwest icon and Bill and his band proved it at the 2011 T-Bone Walker Blues Fest. The trio features legendary drummer James Gadson (Bill Withers, Paul McCartney, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, BB King, Albert King, Ray Charles, Marvin Gaye, Isley Brothers), bassist Rick Moors (Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Mary Wells, Ike Turner, Frankie Laine, Bonedaddys) – all products of the Kansas City area. Bill Lynch is an inductee in the Kansas Music Hall of Fame. Bill and his band stole the show from the headliner last year and we just had to have them back. This is a polished trio of professionals who, by themselves, will make the trip to Linden worth your while.
You get two shots at hearing Bill Lynch & the MidWestern Icons. Bill headlines the outdoor MidSouth Stage on Friday June 22 at 11:15pm, and will open for Keb’ Mo’ on the Music City Texas Stage Saturday June 23 at 9:45pm.
Louisiana Red & David “Honeyboy” Edwards Tribute
Last year Honeyboy had to cancel a week before the show due to his health. His friend, Louisiana Red, stepped in to fill the spot. We quickly discovered that Red was as great a treasure as Honeyboy. Both have crossed over since last year’s festival and two of their close associates/friends will do a tribute to these two icons of the blues world – Michael Frank and Rocky Lawrence. Michael Frank is a legend in the blues world – as the owner of Earwig Music and as a harmonic player. Michael’s support and care enabled Honeyboy to continue touring until age 95. In addition to being Honeyboy’s manager and friend, Michael Frank accompanied him on stage for 40 years. Rocky Lawrence currently tours the country educating university students on the historical significance of the Robert Johnson songbook as it relates to the history of popular music worldwide. He performed in the 2011 festival as a solo act and with Louisiana Red.
The tribute wll be on the Music City Texas Theater Stage Friday June 22 at 9pm, and again Saturday on the outdoor MidSouth Stage at 8:45pm. Do not miss this tribute to two legends in the World of Blues.
Lightnin’ Malcolm Band
Steve Lightnin’ Malcolm’s journey began near the railroad tracks in rural Southeast Missouri. He did a private performance last year for the festival’s volunteers and sponsors. His style of Blues really hit the spot with everyone, so we are bringing him back for the fans. Lightnin’ Malcolm is one of the leading, younger generation artists on the scene today. A reckless live performer, you are going to love his music.
Catch Steve and his band at 8:45pm Friday June 22 on the outdoor MidSouth Stage.
Robin & the Bluebirds
Bruce Flett, Jerry Beach, and Robin Beach Black are solid pros who deliver the goods in such diverse venues as Teddy’s Juke Joint in Zachry, Louisiana, and Sam’s Town Casino in Shreveport. They hit the Outdoor Stage at 10pm Friday June 22. You’ll dig them. Everybody digs Robin and the Bluebirds, who are back for the 7th straight year.
It takes a strong man to recover from the serious illness that struck Buddy Flett while performing with The Bluebirds on a Blues Cruise a few years ago. Buddy’s singing and playing is stronger than ever. If you’ve caught any of Buddy’s solo gigs around the area recently, you know what we mean. Nobody plays a slide guitar like Buddy, and his singing, better than ever, will haunt you for many nights to come. Back for his 7th year with the festival, he is part of our family.
T-Bone Walker Blues Fest fans will see and hear for themselves Friday June 22 when Buddy takes the Outdoor Stage at 5:30pm.
Texas Johnny Brown
Texas Johnny Brown is truly one of the legendary figures of the American blues scene.
Johnny toured with Bobby “Blue” Bland and Junior Parker in the 1950s and 1960s as guitarist and bandleader. Johnny also won the 2000 Houston Press Music Awards for Best Blues and Best Male Vocalist and the 1999 Houston Press Music Awards for Best Guitarist and Best Male Vocalist.
Catch Johnny indoors at 8:15pm PM Saturday June 23 on the Music City Texas Theater Stage.
Kirby Kelley comes to Texas by way of Chicago – their loss, Texas’s gain. Kirby has played the Music City Texas stage on a number of occasions, including the 2007 T-Bone.
Kirby is one of the rare gems who brings the raw passion and fury of the Delta Blues into a contemporary format. He was the 2009 winner of the Guitar Center’s King of the Blues guitar competition as the #1 Unsigned Blues Guitarist in America.
If you get a chance to hear him in person don’t miss out, it is more than a guy playin’ the Blues, it is an experience. Kirby is simply extraordinary. You’ll see. Music City Texas Stage, Saturday, 7pm.
Emily Elbert & The Boston Boys
This Coppell native-Texan just graduated from the acclaimed Berklee College of Music in Boston (Mass, that is…not Texas). Emily Elbert graced the stages of the 5th Annual T-Bone Walker Blues Fest. Fresh off two world tours that took her to Spain, Italy, Greece, Israel, and Indonesia – Thailand, Emily is back in Texas with The Boston Boys. The Boston Boys are fellow Berklee graduates and accompanied Emily on a Texas tour while in school. Emily has jump-started her career with a number of honors, including a coveted spot in the Gibson/Baldwin Grammy Foundation’s jazz ensemble, the Dallas Morning News’ Rookie of the Year for Texas’ 10 Under 20, and Scotland’s Burnsong International Song Contest, 2009. Glamour Magazine selected Emily as one of 2010′s Top Ten College Women.
Come listen and fall in love with these young musicians. Emily gives you the opportunity to see her twice – on the Music City Texas Theater Stage Friday June 22 at 6:45pm and the outdoor MidSouth Stage Saturday June 23 at 6:15pm
Jonathon “Boogie” Long & The Blues Revolution
Jonathon “Boogie” Long’s powerhouse performance, smooth vocals, inspirational songwriting, and monster guitar playing make him a must see. In 2011 ”Boogie” won the Guitar Center’s King of the Blues guitar competition as the #1 Unsigned Blues Guitarist in America. He headlined a blues show earlier this year at Music City Texas and blew the socks off everyone in the audience. He just explodes. Do not miss this future legend.
Saturday, 5:45pm, Indoor Stage at Music City Texas Theater.
The Matthew Davidson Band
Fourteen-year-old guitarist/vocalist Matthew Davidson from Shreveport, LA is “wowing audiences across the south”, according to “American Blues News”. Matthew was the 2011 winner of the Robert Johnson Blues Foundation New Generation Award. Matthew was also selected to be the guitarist for the 2011 “Kidd Kraddick in the Morning” Rock Camp Band. Matthew is back for his 3rd T-Bone festival.
Treat yourself and see him Friday at 7:30pm on the outdoor MidSouth Stage.
The Peterson Brothers Band
Glenn (15) and Alex Peterson (12) discovered B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf and Stevie Ray Vaughan and soon began exploring the vast historical underground that is the Blues. It wasn’t long before they were spending every moment of free time jamming together in their music room. They treated Linden to their music last year at the T-Bone. Legendary venues, including Antone’s, Gruene Hall and Saxon Pub have welcomed the Peterson Brothers Band many times.
Watch these future blues’ greats – Friday June 22 at 5:30pm on the Music City Texas Theater Stage; Saturday June 23 at 5pm on the outdoor MidSouth Stage.
Pleasant Hill Quilting Group
Back for the seventh year, these ladies present the oral American history of The Underground Railroad Quilt Code. The presentation is a blend of the historic Underground Railroad and how runaways were signaled by their conductors with spirituals of the period. The Quilting Group will also auction and raffle quilts for the Pleasant Hill Rosenwald School.
Bring your youngsters to share in the knowledge: Friday June 22 at 6:45pm on the outdoor MidSouth Stage and Saturday June 23 at 5pm on the Music City Texas Theater Stage.
That’s the line up. Two days of non-stop blues from some of the best performers anywhere. The 2012 T-Bone Walker Blues Fest. It’s the Real Deal.
This is a fundraiser for three IRS-designated 501c3 non-profits in cass county, Texas. if you are not able to attend and would like to sponsor or donate, your sponsorship or donation is tax deductible.
Save the date – Get your tickets early – We’ll see you There!