MEET THE 2019 BATON ROUGE BLUES FESTIVAL PERFORMERS
Now in her eighth decade of singing the truth, Mavis Staples continues to use her voice as a means to impact our world and drive change. She began her career singing in churches with her family in 1950s Chicago. The Staples Singers, including her father and three siblings, were an incredibly successful gospel group that eventually became the musical voice of the civil rights movement. Staples’ solo career might be independent from her family, but she hasn’t strayed from her gospel roots. She has performed with Bob Dylan, Booker T., Ray Charles, and The Band, among many others, and has had music written for her by everyone from Prince and Nick Cave to Neko Case and Jeff Tweedy. In 2017, she released her 16th studio album, If All I Was Was Black, and was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. mavisstaples.com
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, Kenny is known as a modern swamp-blues and multi-instrumentalist, that draws from the sizzling sounds of his native Louisiana. Kenny was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2011. His most recent album, Bloodline, was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2016. kennyneal.net
LIL RAY NEAL
Raful Neal Jr. was steeped in the blues early on as a member of the legendary Neal Family with his father bluesman Raful Neal Sr. Lil Ray as he is better known, began playing in his father’s band which led him to meeting blues greats, such as Buddy Guy, Slim Harpo and B.B. King. In October 2017, Neal's unique brand of blues was celebrated with the Baton Rouge Blues Foundation's inaugural Red Stick Blues award.
Tyree Neal, homegrown native of Baton Rouge, brings together music from all genres. It is something about how Tyree uses his magical skills of the electric guitar and then turns his voice into a work of art. Tyree was destined for greatness at an early age coming from a musically-inclined family of American, Louisiana blues singers. Tyree has played for and accompanied some of the most influential artists of all time, all who reside within his own family. Some of the musical legends that he has conglomerated with is the late Raful Neal, Kenny Neal and the late great Jackie Neal. Tyree now uses his young flare to reach all people of all ages. From the hip hop lover, to the young at heart. What fans love about this artist is that he combines rhythm, blues, soul tones and turns them into magical authenticity.
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 21st appearance at the Baton Rouge Blues Festival.
One of the last of the original soul singers still standing, William Bell’s quintessential voice and evocative performances still wow audiences all over the world. Bell was an early signing by Stax, the same legendary label that later released recordings by Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Isaac Hayes, and The Staple Singers. Bell’s 1961 solo debut for Stax Records, “You Don’t Miss Your Water (Until Your Well Runs Dry),” became one of the fledgling label’s first major hits. The song is now considered one of the finest early examples of soul music, and was covered by many artists, including Otis Redding and The Byrds. Bell has received the R&B Pioneer Award from Rhythm & Blues Foundation, the W.C. Handy Heritage Award from the Memphis Music Foundation, and the BMI Songwriter’s Award. He is a member of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame, is featured prominently in the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. In 2017, Bell was given the Epitome of Soul Award, which was presented to him by Stevie Wonder, the 2016 honoree. Bell’s most recent release This is Where I Live garnered a 2017 Grammy award for Best Americana Album.
DEACON JOHN MOORE
In a career that spans more than fifty years, Deacon John Moore has endured as one of New Orleans' most talented and most adaptive performers. A warhorse and model showman, he's entertained generations of New Orleanians, playing classic rhythm and blues, rock 'n' roll, blues, jazz and gospel. Blessed with a great voice that was trained in the church, he began singing with his first R&B band in the seventh grade. Once he began playing the guitar, learning to play by ear from the records and books he bought, he started playing professionally in 1957 while still in high school, and has never looked back. In the 1960s, Deacon, as a guitarist, began to play on recording sessions with Allen Toussaint, Dave Bartholomew, Harold Battiste, Wardell Quezergue and Eddie Bo. He became a fixture on all of the top records at Cosimo Matassa's studio in the late '50s and early '60s, playing on many classic hits.
JOHN ‘PAPA’ GROS
JOHNATHON ‘BOOGIE’ LONG
Jonathon 'Boogie' Long was born with the blues coursing through his veins. Brought up in a Southern Baptist community, he first picked up the guitar at the age of six, teaching himself old gospel songs. Fast forward a few years to Long playing weekly gigs at blues clubs and events around Baton Rouge. At fourteen, he left school to tour with local legends Henry Turner, Jr. & Flavor from 2003 to 2005. He has toured with Chris Duarte, Kenny Wayne and Tyree Neal on the Chitlin’ Circuit and has shared the stage with standout musicians such as Warren Haynes and Govt Mule, Dr. John, Rockin’ Dopsie, Monte Montgomery, Ellis Hall, Kenny Neal, Larry Garner, Henry Gray, Lil Ray Neal, and Lou Marini of the Blues Brothers Band. jonathonboogielong.com
WARREN STORM & WILLIE TEE & THE BAND CYPRESS WITH SPECIAL GUESTS
The Cypress Band featuring Warren Storm & Willie Tee originated in 1980. They had their own weekly television show on station KADN on Saturday afternoons. Although the band broke up in 1984, Warren & Willie Tee continued working together as guests with other bands. In 2004 they decided to reform the Cypress Band and began another era of their music. The Cypress Band has made a strong comeback, thanks to the enthusiasm of the fans all over.
CHRIS LEBLANC BAND WITH A TRIBUTE TO LAZY LESTER
With unstoppable energy, Chris LeBlanc has been a staple in the Louisiana music scene for more than 20 years, combining Southern rock with blues and juke joint vibes. Performing locally, nationally and internationally, Chris has been billed with artists such as ZZ Top, Hank Williams Jr., BB King and Brett Michaels, among others. Having released four albums on his Sweetroll Records, Chris has recently spent time writing and recording new material in his private studio. In addition to his performance at the festival, you can also see him the Friday before, performing at Live After Five. chrisleblancband.com
The 2017 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition winner, Quiana Lynell infuses her classical training with her gospel upbringing and approaches jazz as a storyteller. She hits every note with perfect timing and impeccable pitch. If Sam Cooke were alive to hear her performance of his classic, "A Change is Gonna Come," he might say, "yeah...that is what I meant." A graduate from Louisiana State University’s music department, Lynell is able to harness her voice as a true instrument and perform various genres of music while maintaining her own sound. She is quickly becoming recognized as one of the voices to listen for. With her debut album soon to be released by Concord Records she is positioned to become one of the longstanding artist of jazz. quianalynell.com
Greyhounds are the Austin trio of Anthony Farrell (vocals, keyboards), Andrew Trube (vocals and guitar) and Ed Miles (drums). Many music fans remember Farrell and Trube as key members of JJ Grey's band MOFRO for many years. After parting with Grey in 2016 to focus full-time on Greyhounds, the band has only left the road to record and release two full-length records. greyhoundsmusic.com
HENRY TURNER JR & FLAVOR
In the 1990's Henry Turner, Jr. set out to create a completely new kind of music and pay homage to the diversity of Louisiana. He found musicians from different backgrounds, who had a deep love and respect for their art and cultures, and created what has become known as the Louisiana reggae, soul, funk and blues band–Henry Turner, Jr. & Flavor. And so, for the past two decades Henry Turner, Jr. & the Flavor have performed their innovative style of music in clubs and at festivals across the country and around the world, releasing numerous CDs and singles. henryturnerjr.com
As the grandson of the legendary R.L. Burnside, Cedric Burnside has the North Mississippi hill country blues running through his veins. At 13, he began playing drums and touring with his grandfather and father, and carried that experience and legacy into his music today. Burnside has both played and recorded with the North Mississippi Allstars (Luther Dickinson gave him his first electric guitar), Widespread Panic, Jimmy Buffett, Hubert Sumlin and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, as well as past festival performers Bobby Rush and Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears. His latest album, Benton County Relic, was recently nominated for Best Traditional Blues Album at the 2019 Grammy Awards. cedricburnside.net
LITTLE FREDDIE KING
Born in McComb, Mississippi in 1940, Fread E. Martin grew up playing alongside his blues guitar-picking father (Jessie James Martin), then rode the rails to New Orleans during the early fifties where he crossed paths with itinerant South Louisiana blues man such as "Poka- Dot" Slim and "Boogie" Bill Webb whose unique country-cum-urban styles would influence his own. Honing his guitar chops at notorious joints like the Bucket of Blood (which he later immoralized in song), he jammed and gigged with Bo Diddley and John Lee Hooker, and also played bass for Freddy King during one of the guitarist's stints in New Orleans. People began comparing the two musicians' styles, hence Martin's nome-de-plume. While well-vested in a variety of styles, nowadays Little Freddie sounds a lot more like his cousin Lightin' Hopkins—albeit after a three day corn liquor bender! Nevertheless, the King sobriquet if fitting, as Freddie is undeniably the monarch of the Crescent City blues scene.
SMOKEHOUSE PORTER AND MISS MAMIE
As a child, Smokehouse Porter was instantly transfixed by the blues. However it wasn’t until he began playing with local legend W.W. Woolfolk and meeting icons like Arthur “Guitar” Kelly and Silas Hogan that he found his specific sound, the gutbucket blues. This style is a combination of swamp blues and Mississippi Delta blues that “hits you deep down in the gut.” While Smokehouse was refining his sound, Miss Mamie was performing in the Chicago R&B scene. Growing up with a harmonica playing-father, she had the blues in her blood, and began singing the blues when she returned to Baton Rouge in the late eighties. With Mamie’s soulful delivery and lyrics and Smokehouse’s unique sound, the duo have earned the title of King and Queen of the gutbucket blues.
CHICAGO AL AND THE BACKBURNERS
HARVEY KNOX & THE SOUL SPECTRUM BAND
Harvey Knox, originally from Tallulah, La., is known for performing with almost every blues musician to come out of Baton Rouge including the legendary Slim Harpo. Knox left his hometown to study music at Southern University in 1957, being the first of his family to attend college. After college, he played guitar full-time at up to seven gigs a week to make ends meet. His impact on the blues was recently recognized at the annual Slim Harpo Music Awards in 2013, honoring Knox as a blues pioneer.
DARCY MALONE & THE TANGLE
Darcy Malone & the Tangle began when Darcy, the daughter of Dave Malone of The Radiators fame, met skateboarder/guitar player Christopher Boye. The husband/wife duo wanted to create music that incorporated Darcy’s background of soul and pop with Chris' love of indie/underground rock n roll. After adding band members Craig Toomey (vocals, bass), Jagon Eldridge (saxophone, keyboards) and Billy Schell (drums) the two musicians got the exact fresh sound they were looking for. Incorporating a “tangle” of genres, the band go from the funky catchy grooves of their hit, “Be A Man,” to the dynamic rock n roll hooks of songs like “Still Life”. Great songs combined with an intensely fun live performance make this band for everyone. darcymaloneandthetangle.com
LEVEE ROAD REVUE
Born and raised in Cajun Country, Lane Mack knows a thing or two about letting the good times Rock and Roll! From fronting a garage rock band at the young age of seventeen Lane Mack has since gone on to grace the stage with numerous national recording artists such as Robert Randolph, Marc Broussard, and Royal Teeth as well as co-founding the band Sons of VooDoo along with his brother. Lane Mack is always challenging his versatility, from playing guitar with Lafayette, Louisiana folk artist Sean Bruce one night to switching gears effortlessly to soul music with season 5 finalist of The Voice Ray Boudreaux. Lane Mack owns the stage with masterful guitar licks and a vocal range that surpasses many. After years of playing and writing, Lane has finally stepped out on his own to show the world a brew he's been perfecting for years. With a catalog of all original songs, its a good thing he's brewed enough for everyone to taste.
HOGY & THE HEALERS
The Excelleauxs, formed in 2018, is made up of veteran New Orleans musicians Ben Maygarden, Johnny J and Jack Kolb, and features Baton Rouge guitarist and drummer Sam Hogan, son of Excello artist Silas Hogan.
Organized in 1939 by Benjamin Maxon, The Zion Harmonizers formed out of an old New Orleans neighborhood known as "New Zion." Maxon's aunt, Alberta French Johnson led the all-female gospel group The Southern Harps and taught her nephew and his friends, Sherman and Nolan Washington, the ways of traditional gospel quartets, a style that they still practice to this day. The group is known for their brightly-colored matching suits as well as their harmonies, but they still rely heavily on the old-time a cappella style, using it to get the message through. The Harmonizers first appeared at the very first New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, held in the old Congo Square in 1969, and continue to perform each year since. The Zion Harmonizers are also one of the monthly featured groups at the New Orleans House of Blues Gospel Brunch. Despite their many achievements, the Zion Harmonizers remain humble, approachable men whose purpose in performing is to entertain, enlighten and enjoy reaching out to their audience for a very memorable time.
ELDER TIMOTHY BRITTEN & SHABACH
ARTHUR GREMILLION & FRIENDS COMMUNITY CHOIR
DEANDRE TATE & COMPANY
APRIL ‘SEXY RED’ JACKSON
April 'Sexy Red' Jackson displays a well-known vibe of southern soul to the deep sounds of the blues. As a powerful stage performer and singer, she shares her vocal talents through her hometown of Baton Rouge and throughout the state where she can make any crowd stand to their feet. So much fun, laughter, and good dancing is bound to happen when you experience April 'Sexy Red' Jackson, the new Southern Sassy Soul Queen.
OMT, or One More Time Band, has been together since 1995 with their goals of making good music, putting on a good show and making sure everyone has a good time. The band plays R&B, soul and classic rock and roll from the '60s and '70s with a style all its own. You may have seen them downtown before at Live After Five or gotten down with them at Teddy's Juke Joint.