Stay tuned! The lineup for this year's Baton Rouge Blues Festival will be released soon. For the latest information on the festival, follow along on Twitter at @brbluesfest, like us on Facebook at facebook.com/BRBluesFest or sign up to receive email updates here.
Blues legend Henry Gray began his career playing piano in an Alsen, Louisiana church at the age of eight and has yet to slow down. After serving in World War II, Gray moved to Chicago where he played and recorded with notable players and blues innovators for 22 years before joining Howlin' Wolf's band in 1956. Since returning to Baton Rouge in 1968, Gray has worked with an extensive list of blues notables such as Muddy Waters and BB King, has performed all over the world and has been honored with several award nominations including a Grammy nod for his work on "A Tribute to Howlin' Wolf." This will be Gray's 14th appearance at the Baton Rouge Blues Festival.
Download a full bio of Gray here.
Queen of soul and blues Lavelle White was raised around music as the daughter to a gospel singing single mother in the churches of Louisiana and Mississippi. Her career began in the 1950s on Houston's Duke Records where White worked with numerous blues legends, eventually spending a decade as the house singer for Chicago's renowned Kingston Mines blues club. White has been featured on Austin City Limits and has received numerous accolades including The Otis Redding Award from the Academy of Jazz and being inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame in 1996.
Download a full bio of White here.
Wisconsin-born Bryan Lee, now known as "Braille Blues Daddy," was introduced to blues through late night radio listening sessions. His career began by playing for Midwest crowds at 15, opening for Bill Haley & The Comets in the late 1950s. While touring in the '60s and '70s, his interest turned to Chicago blues with influences such as Muddy Waters, who he eventually opened for in the '80s. While touring, Lee fell in love with New Orleans and relocated there in 1982 where he has been a constant in the French Quarter music scene ever since, often being referred to as "A New Orleans Blues Institution."
Click here for more information on Bryan Lee.
Oscar Davis recalls music being played in his home as a child. His brother, brother [John Davis] taught him how to play harmonica when he was very young. In 1970 he began playing drums, but decided to concentrate on harmonica. He joined his first band at the age of seventeen. Oscar has played with a wide variety of local blues musicians,some of whom are James Johnson, Larry Garner, Silas Hogan, and Tabby Thomas. Some of the the biggest influences on his music are Lazy Lester and the late greats Raful Neal and Slim Harpo. Tabby Thomas has also influenced his career and music. He says that Tabby is a great man and a fair man. Tabby Thomas gave him the nickname of "Oscar Harpo."
David Hinson is a strings teacher with the EBRPSS' Talented Music Program. He has played in the Baton Rouge Symphony for more than 20 years and with some of the area bands, such as Righteous Buddha, The Roebucks and Polly Pry. Mr. Hinson and the Blisters is made up of some of the most talented high school string and rhythm section players in the area.
Stage veteran of over 50 years, Bobby Rush started performing as a teenager in local juke joints wearing a fake mustache and playing a primitive self-made guitar. He emerged on the West Side blues circuit in Chicago in the 1960s, collaborating with notable blues performers like Luther Allison and Earl Hooker. His first big hit, "Chicken Heads," was with Galaxy Records in 1971, continuing recording success for the several decades and eventually forming his own label, Deep Rush Records, in 2003. Rush has received several Blues Music Awards and was nominated for a Grammy in 2000 for his album Hoochie Mama. In 2003, Rush's showmanship was highlighted in Richard Pearce's documentary The Road To Memphis, part of a six part PBS film series from Martin Scorsese. Whether he's playing Carnegie Hall or a "chitlin' circuit" club in Smackover, Arkansas, Rush guarantees a memorable performance every time.
Download a full bio of Rush here.
Introduced to traditional pedal steel through church, Robert Randolph was instantly inspired by Stevie Ray Vaughn while attending a concert and became determined to elevate his music to a new level. Around 2000, he and his band began playing—and selling out—New York clubs with no record deal. Warner Brothers signed the band, with their talents garnering respect from legends Eric Clapton and B.B. King to young artists like The Roots and John Mayer.
Click here for more information on Robert Randolph & the Family Band.
Grammy-nominated Lafayette native CC Adcock has been in the Louisiana music scene since his teens, leaving high school to tour with Bo Diddley and Buckwheat Zydeco and being signed to Island Records at 22. His influence is widespread, from composing original music for Treme and True Blood to collaborating with artists like Robert Plant, Fats Domino, Bobby Charles, Florence + The Machine, Doyle Bramhall, Nick Cave, Steve Earle, and Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys. (Photo by John Chaisson)
Blind Boy Paxton was born into a Creole family in Los Angeles. While growing up in the South Central area, he learned banjo, guitar, harmonica, piano and several other instruments in their authentic pre-war American styles. He cops licks from Blind Blake, Papa Charley Jackson, Robert Johnson, Charley Patton, Earl Scruggs, Willie "The Lion" Smith and Lonnie Johnson, recreating the sounds of pre-war music in America. When he was 12 years old, an interest in mechanics led him to wonder how violins produced sound, so his loving Aunt LaShunder bought him a fiddle. That started him down the road of music and helped him find a love for bluegrass and early country music. Associations with mentor Brad Kay and buddy Frank Fairfield have reinforced his love of the music on 78s and cylinders, and his respect for those bygone but still vital media themselves.
Brothers Joe and David Stark teamed up to form the stripped down rock and roll duo Baby Bee in the fall of 2011. After recording an independent 7 song EP with producer Dave Cobb, the brothers quickly began earning a loyal following close to their home in South Louisiana. “We wanted to do a project with just us two, and really get back to the basics,” says lead singer and guitarist Joe. And Baby Bee does indeed get back to the basics, but with a musical sophistication that matches the house on fire immediacy with which it is played. The sons of musician parents, and no strangers to boozy Mardi Gras parties, these brothers play their brand of music with one foot in the swamp and the other in a pool of infectious pop melodies. The band has an instinctual inclination to write songs with big choruses and a boogie beat that makes everyone want to move their feet.
Click here for more information on Baby Bee.