Monday, May 24, 2010

Blues Festival

Sponsored by the 1905 Basin Park Hotel, the 2009 Eureka Springs Blues Weekend will feature Guitar Shorty, Hubert Sumlin & the Buddy Flett Band and Joe Louis Walker headlining evening shows in THE Auditorium May 28, 29 & 30 respectively. For acoustic guitar lovers, we have Delta Blues legend David "Honeyboy" Edwards headlining a special "Acoustic Afternoon at THE Auditorium" on Saturday, May 30th. Shows will also be held throughout the weekend in the 1905 Basin Park Hotel's Barefoot Ballroom and Ozark Room, Basin Spring Park, and at various venues around Eureka Springs.
This year's Blues Weekend will be a fundraiser for The Blues Foundation's Handy Artist Relief Trust and Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. The HART fund provides assistance to musicians in need, including acute, chronic & preventive medical & dental care, as well as funeral expenses. For more information, please visit Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is located seven miles south of Eureka Springs on Highway 23. It provides lifetime refuge to abandoned, abused, and neglected "Big Cats", with emphasis on tigers, lions, leopards, and cougars. Natural habitats have been built over the past decade to allow the "Lions, Tigers & Bears" to live in more natural surroundings. For more information, please visit
ESBW Producer Charles "Rags" Ragsdell and his wife Lori have been supporters of both organizations for over a decade. As volunteers, they help produce the Eureka Springs Blues Weekend and several other music events. Rags is also a Charter Member of The Blues Foundation, and a member of Turpentine Creek's Board of Directors.
Other headliners appearing in The Auditorium and the 1905 Basin Park Hotel Barefoot Ballroom include EG Kight, Moreland & Arbuckle, Mary Flower, RJ Mischo, Lee McBee & the Confessors, Deanna Bogart and John Nemeth. Also, International Blues Challenge winner JP Soars & the Red Hots and Ozarks Blues Society Blues Challenge winners Oreo Blue and Kory Montgomery & Isayah Warford will be opening acts.
Thursday evening at THE Auditorium will feature Guitar Shorty. Six-time Blues Music Award nominee Guitar Shorty started his professional career at the tender age of 16, playing for Ray Charles. He recorded his first single under the direction of Willie Dixon the next year, and went on to play with greats such as T-Bone Walker, Big Joe Turner, Little Richard and Sam Cooke. Since then, Guitar Shorty has headlined festivals around the world, and won the Contemporary Album Blues Music Award in 2007 for "We the People".
Opening for Guitar Shorty will be International Blues Challenge winner JP Soars & the Red Hots. JP and his band bested over 100 bands in the 2009 International Blues Challenge, held by The Blues Foundation in Memphis, Tennessee. JP also won a custom Gibson guitar and a Category 5 amp for the Albert King Award for Most Promising Blues Guitarist. JP was raised in Cedarville, near Fayetteville, and looks forward to returning "home" for his first Arkansas performance.
On Friday, Grammy nominee, nine-time Blues Music Award nominee, four-time BMA winner and Blues Hall of Famer Hubert Sumlin will headline THE Auditorium. Raised in Hughes, Arkansas and after a stint in James Cotton's band, at the age of 18 Hubert became Howlin' Wolf's guitarist. Sumlin's licks are heard on hits like "Smokestack Lightnin'" and "Wang Dang Doodle", and he has been cited by almost every major blues guitarist as one of their prime inspirations.
Sumlin has been a featured artist in Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festivals and appeared in the films "10 Days Out", "Lightning in a Bottle" and "Cadillac Records". Eric Clapton and The Rolling Stone's Keith Richard appeared on Sumlin's "About Them Shoes", another testament to his influence on today's guitar greats. Hubert will be backed by The Buddy Flett Band, who also appeared in "10 Days Out", Kenny Wayne Shepherd's road-trip documentary.
Opening for Sumlin will be Kory Montgomery & Isayah Warford, who represented the Ozarks Blues Society in the International Blues Challenge's Solo/Duo competition. Also appearing will be Oreo Blue, who represented the Ozarks Blues Society in the International Blues Challenge's Band competition.
Also on Friday, BMA nominee John Nemeth and BMA winner Deanna Bogart will perform in the 1905 Basin Park Hotel's Barefoot Ballroom. Nemeth has wowed crowds around the world with great vocals and harp playing, and simply blew away the crowd on the King Biscuit stage with Anson Funderburg & the Rockets after the passing of harp legend Sam Meyers. Deanna Bogart is one of the most musically gifted ladies on the planet. A "quadruple threat", Deanna sings, plays piano and saxophone, and writes great songs.
Saturday afternoon at THE Auditorium features Grammy and Blues Music Award winner and two-time Blues Hall of Famer David "Honeyboy" Edwards. Honeyboy is the last of the original Mississippi Delta Blues guitarists. Unlike guitarists like Eric Clapton who say Robert Johnson influenced their music, Honeyboy actually played with Johnson! Honeyboy's life has been intertwined with almost every major blues legend, including both Robert and Tommy Johnson, Charlie Patton, Big Joe Williams, Rice "Sonny Boy Williamson" Miller, Howlin' Wolf, Peetie Wheatstraw, Sunnyland Slim, Lightnin' Hopkins, Big Walter, Little Walter, Magic Sam, and Muddy Waters! In 1942, Alan Lomax recorded Honeyboy in Clarksdale, Mississippi for the Library of Congress. Since then, Honeyboy has recorded 14 albums and has appeared on 38 compilations, and has performed at hundreds of festivals around the world. Honeyboy also appeared as himself in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.
Opening for Honeyboy are EG Kight and Mary Flower. Both ladies are multiple Blues Music Award nominees, and are known around the world for their guitar playing, singing, and songwriting. They will also perform sets in the Basin Park Hotel Ozark Room on Friday and Saturday evenings respectively.
Saturday will feature Multiple Grammy and Blues Music Award winner Joe Louis Walker. Joe Louis has been nominated for an astounding 39 Blues Music Awards, winning three times. Joe Louis is a true powerhouse guitar virtuoso, unique singer & prolific songwriter who has toured the world throughout his career and earned himself a legion of dedicated fans around the globe. He has recorded with the likes of BB King, James Cotton, Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal, Huey Lewis, Branford Marsalis, Steve Cropper, Shemekia Copeland & Ike Turner, with a discography that counts 19 solo albums, 2 live DVD's, and countless compilations and guest appearances.
Opening for Joe Louis Walker will be RJ Mischo backed by Lee McBee & the Confessors. RJ Mischo has performed around the world, thrilling audiences with his mastery of the harmonica. Lee McBee is best known for his harp and vocal work with Mike Morgan and The Crawl, but shines on his own with one of the tightest bands in the Midwest, The Confessors. These two gifted front men will take turns entertaining the audience, then will come together at the end for some “head cutting” in what can best be described as a “harp meltdown”!
Also appearing on Saturday in the Barefoot Ballroom will be Moreland & Arbuckle and BMA nominee Candye Kane. Fairly new to the festival scene, Moreland & Arbuckle's latest CD "1861" was designated a "Pick to Click" on Bluesville. They have gained a large following with their Mississippi-style "Roots Blues" that are influenced by everyone from Little Walter to Led Zeppelin. Candye Kane has toured the world as part of RUF Records' Blues Caravan, and is known for her outrageous costumes and high-energy shows.
Candye was scheduled to appear at last year's Blues Weekend, but was unable to perform due to illness. Like many musicians, Candye didn't have insurance to cover her medical bills, and the HART Fund helped pay them. We promised Candye she would get a "rain check" for this year's Blues Weekend, and we are thrilled she is able to come and help raise money for the HART fund!
Also, internationally acclaimed blues photographer David Horowitz will exhibit his photography, and will conduct a performance photography workshop on Saturday morning. Horowitz’s award winning photographs include over four decades of blues greats, everyone from Katie Webster to Albert Collins to Stevie Ray Vaughn to today’s rising stars. If you have attended any major blues festival, more than likely you have seen David shooting from the side of the stage.
In addition to the headliner shows and photo exhibition, there will be music in Basin Spring Park and at area clubs and restaurants.
For a complete schedule, more information or to volunteer, please visit

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