Jonny Lang - Friday, July 22nd 8pm at the Calvin Theatre
At times Jonny Lang sounds more like a seasoned bluesman from the Delta than a contemporary musician from North Dakota. His extraordinary singing and guitar playing stamped him as a once-in-a-generation blues talent. His 1997 debut, “Lie To Me” topped the charts and critics marveled at the poise and maturity the 16-year-old artist displayed. Lang has toured with Aerosmith, The Rolling Stones, B.B. King, and Blues Traveler, as well as headlining around the world. The late Luther Allison said, "Jonny Lang has the power to move the music into the next millennium by reaching the ears of a new generation. The great musicians have the power to break all of the ‘isms’ -race, age, sex, etc. Jonny Lang is one of those musicians."
Johnny A- Saturday, July 16th 7PM Iron Horse
Johnny A played as a sideman with such artists as Bobby Whitlock and J. Geils frontman Peter Wolf. He belongs in the rarified ranks of players like Jeff Beck, Bill Frisell and Carlos Santana; he's recognizable from the first note. He has created a unique voice, not just playing guitar - he plays music. Gibson Custom Guitars introduced the Johnny A. Signature Model in 2003, designed from the ground up per Johnny's specs. Devotion to melodies, tight dynamics and succulent tones perfectly temper Johnny's balance of fire and ice.
Kenny Neal - Saturday, July 30th 7pm at the Iron Horse
The album Let Life Flow marks the return of multi-instrumentalist and modern swamp-blues master Kenny Neal, with an inspired set that draws musically from the sizzling sounds of his native Louisiana. Kenny Neal, born in New Orleans and raised in Baton Rouge, began playing music at a young age. Learning the basics from his father, singer and Blues harmonica master, Raful Neal. Family friends like Lazy Lester, Buddy Guy and Slim Harpo also contributed to Kenny’s early musical education. In fact, it was Harpo who gave the crying three-year-old a harmonica to pacify him. Kenny stopped crying that day. Whether performing songs of soulful catharsis or hip-shaking celebration, Neal pays tribute to his diverse influences, while injecting a heartfelt sentiment born of the real-life, human struggles that any listener can relate to.
Shemekia Copeland - Saturday, August 6th 7PM at the Iron Horse
At a young age, Shemekia Copeland is already a force to be reckoned with in the blues. While still in her 20s, she’s opened for the Rolling Stones, headlined at the Chicago Blues Festival and numerous festivals around the world, scored critics choice awards on both sides of the Atlantic (The New York Times and The Times of London) and shared the stage with such luminaries as Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Taj Mahal and John Mayer. Heir to the rich tradition of soul-drenched divas like Ruth Brown, Etta James and Koko Taylor, Copeland’s shot at the eventual title of Queen of the Blues is pretty clear. By some standards, she may already be there.
Samirah Evans and Her Handsome Devils -Saturday, August 13th 7PM at the Iron Horse
In New Orleans, a city known worldwide for its music, Samirah Evans was one of its most popular jazz & blues vocalists. She first performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 1990, and became a regular fixture as either a leader or featured vocalist for fourteen consecutive years. She has toured Europe, Asia, and both North and South America as a headliner, and shared stages with a multitude of legendary artists from B.B. King and James Brown, to New Orleans own Queen of Soul, Irma Thomas. Samirah’s connection to the jazz lineage and her message of love and excitement radiates from the entire band like a giant light beam! She purrs, she roars, her voice subtle then huge, nuanced then powerful, her phrasing always exact.
Tommy Castro Band Tuesday, August 23rd 7PM at the Iron Horse
R&B singer, songwriter and guitarist Tommy Castro is one of the most popular and creative roots artists to emerge in recent years. Castro, winner of the 2008 Blues Music Award for Entertainer Of The Year, is famed not only for his hard-hitting, impassioned vocals, soaring guitar work and his blues-infused, rocking R&B sound, but also for his striking, original songwriting and exhilarating stage show. According to The San Francisco Chronicle, “Castro navigates seriously funky Southern soul, gritty big city blues and scorching rock…his silvery guitar licks simultaneously sound familiar and fresh.”