Sunday, February 26, 2012

Redd Velvet Unlocking The Key To “Womanhood 101”

By Suzanne Swanson  
Men are always shaking their heads in puzzlement saying they don’t understand women. Well, if they listened to what Miss Redd Velvet is singing in her self-penned material on ‘Womanhood 101’ they might have a better understanding of how women think. Kudos to Redd for producing this album herself as it is filled with various highlights both musically as well as sharing ‘life-lessons’. The wisdom taught to her by her mother is echoed on the liner notes, “…a woman should never lower her standards to raise her average.”

Photo by Suzanne Swanson
This Southern lady, born and raised, shares her wisdom along with a whole lot of truth, some poignant, some bittersweet, but always honest. Her voice slides over you easily as she conveys, with a satisfying opening groove, on “The Right Number”. This is a tale about being “the other woman”. On “Wouldn’t You Like to Know”, Redd swings into a statement regarding control and a push-me, pull-me relationship. For emphasis, it includes nice background vocals.

A slow ballad supported with a smooth horn section, and background vocals, “Lying” gives us a portrait most woman can relate to at some point in their lives. Sometimes a woman has to be forward in a relationship and let the man of her dreams know that she would rather he stay the night because she just cannot let him walk out that door. “Who You Calling Baby”, delivers guitar fills that add a mellow but firm touch to this reprimand. She is calling her man out about all his bad behaviour. We’ve heard a number of he’s-done-me-wrong songs but here Redd is standing up for herself with authority, and a hand-on-her-hip finger-shaking in his face.

Photo by Suzanne Swanson
Now we quickly move to a slid trombone intro followed by repeating horn licks in “Walkie Talkie Man”. This is my favorite cut. It’s an upbeat declaration that she knows what she wants in a man and calling all comers to show they are worthy of her attention. We have a real woman here who knows exactly what she wants and is honest enough to say no ‘players’ allowed.

“Searching” is penned by Earl Randle. With sparing guitar, it is a quick-paced declaration that states the singer is on a quest.

On “When You’re Loving Me”, a tender love song oozing the eternal charm and depth of a Hammond B-3, this sensual song declares with every note the profound feelings Redd shares without embarrassment. We need candles and satin sheets here. “When you are loving me… I become the woman that I was meant to be”.

With “Never Before’, we have a slow bluesy ballad that is a declaration that Redd is looking for love “but doesn’t want to hurt herself”. The measured snare and guitar chording support in a comfortable subtle manner just adding enough textures so as not to distract from the voice that needs to be heard. “No Thank You” is a blues shuffle again with B-3 and guitar playing off each other while Redd affirms in no uncertain terms, ‘Thanks, but no thanks!” The B-3 fading out feels just right in every way.

“How Long” places us back in church which we understand perfectly here. I can picture everyone getting on their feet declaring this message as a prayer to the Lord. How long will it be before Good triumphs over the snares of the devil? Redd grew up in the church while having her grandparents, the Rev. and Mrs. S.C. Tucker, make sure she had piano lessons. It has been an important part in expressing herself which means we reap the rewards on this release.

©copyright 2012 Suzanne Swanson 


Friday, February 17, 2012

Sunday Blues Tradition At The Spar in Old Town Tacoma

The Spar
is Tacoma Washington's oldest saloon located in the heart of Old Town. The venue has a widely popular tradition of Sunday blues music. The Spar's fan base knows it can always find quality live blues there on Sunday evenings. Steeped from a long colorful history of the Tacoma waterfront, The Spar has a classic Pacific NW atmosphere. The building itself is cool-- an old brick structure in Old Town perched just above Ruston Way and the Commencement Bay waterfront.

On their calendar you will find local, regional and national acts (both familiar and new); which is why blues fans from all over the Puget Sound find there way to The Spar each weekend. March's calendar is yet to be published. But, this month is a perfect example with shows by the NW's Junkyard Jane, Mojo Overload, Toast, and some new faces: Todd Wolfe out of the east coast played last Sunday, and Mia Vermillion (out of the NW) will perform this coming Sunday, February 19th.

Photo By Ilona Berzups
February 19th is show you will definitely want to catch. It is Mia Vermillion's debut at The Spar, but definitely not in the region. Last year, Mia played the main stage at the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland, Oregon, and opened two nights for Grammy nominee and Blues Hall of Fame inductee John Hammond at Seattle’s Jazz Alley.

Mia released her debut CD titled Alone Together With the Blues in 2009. Despite the fact Mia couldn't promote it through touring because she incurred a serious back injury shortly after the release, the record received national attention and rave reviews boasting airplay on The Roots Music Report Blues Radio chart Top 50, as well as climbing to #2 on XM Radio’s B.B. King’s Bluesville’s ‘Picks to Click’ with her recording of I’m Going to Copyright Your Kisses. She has come back from the injury in full force playing in prestigious venues around the region.

Mia has her own unique style and voice compared to many of the female blues singers out there today. “…One of the best vocalists I’ve heard in a while…” according to Graham Clarke with Blues Bytes Magazine. Mia’s voice and stage presence has been described as sultry and intoxicating. “…she infuses her singing with more humidity than Ma Rainey and more sex than Lena Horn,” according to’s Michael Bailey.

The last Sunday in this leap year February at The Spar will be the home town, T-Town Aces. They are always a favorite at The Spar, and another reason making the trek to Tacoma on a Sunday evening should be in your plans!

The Spar is located at 2121 North 30th Street in Tacoma. To visit their Website CLICK HERE.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Review "Last Time I Saw You" - Microwave Dave and the Nukes

By Rick J Bowen
Dave Gallaher, a.k.a. Microwave Dave, is such a fixture in the community of Huntsville, Alabama that in 2009 the local baseball club, The Huntsville Stars, created a bobble head in his honor. Well guitar man and DJ, Microwave Dave and his power trio The Nukes have just released their seventh album, "Last Time I Saw You." Dave is once again joined by long time songwriting partner Rick Godfrey on bass and harmonica and the exciting young drummer James Irvin. The thirteen song set impeccably recorded by Jeremy Stephens at Clearwave Studios is no doubt one the best self produced blues and roots albums of the year.

Right out the gate opening track "Drinkin' Wine Since Nine," hits with a growling guitar, Dave's unmistakable rumblin' baritone and one of the greasiest second line grooves ever, conjuring up all the ghosts of the delta for a party. Dave and Godfrey are poets with a rapier wit delivering scouring sarcasm on southern fried slide guitar and house rockin' riffs. Lines like "Jesus was smart not to mate," and "you're the worst thing that ever happened to the blues," make it hard to decide which of the three great tracks, "Jesus Was Smart," "The Worst Thing," and "Last Time I Saw You," as the winner for the ultimate "Man Cave" anthem.

Kit man Irvin displays his arsenal of chops on the Bo Diddley beat of "Alabama Saturday Night," and the supersonic "All Night Boogie." So great to hear the drums up front on a blues album, as the genre is often so very guitar centric. The album closes with a heartfelt instrumental simply titled "Rafferty," no doubt an ode to the late great Gerry Rafferty delivered with dynamic gusto.

Last Time I Saw You is a great album, and should no doubt bring about many first time views and listens to these veteran blues men.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Great News Out of Memphis - The Wired! Band Wins the International Blues Challenge

There were 240 bands from the United States and many from other countries in Memphis this past week. In the trial by fire that followed, one band survived: The winner in Memphis is THE WIRED! BAND from Everett, Washington and representing the Washington Blues Society.

Photo by Margene Schotz
Congratulations to Kevin, Rick and Keith on a great accomplishment!!

The process of the bands getting there was serious business. At each stage panels of judges with forms and a point system evaluated thousands of bands on many things: the number of octaves of each singer, whether 80% of their songs are originals, whether they keep their music inside the blues genre, the skill level of each band member and how in harmony they are, and much more. And whether you agree with the process or not, it is with out a doubt a huge recognition of talent and respect by the international blues community.

Below is an article, written by Robert Horn for the Washington Blues Society's Bluesletter awhile back, about about Wired's front man Kevin Sutton:

A Conversation with the Washington Blues Society's " Best of Blues" Performer of the Year - By Robert Horn

Kevin Sutton won Best of Blues (BB) Awards this spring for Best Performer and Best Songwriter. His band, “Wired”, won the BB Award for Best Blues Act. His band was also picked by the Washington Blues Society to represent this state at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Those are pretty good things to have on your resume. This highly entertaining band does some things way outside the box. I have enjoyed seeing and hearing Kevin as the band’s front man because he is a great entertainer.

I also found out something about Kevin that made me even more interested in interviewing him. Kevin has an education that includes Anthropology, Economics, and History. Because of that I knew that he would view music a lot like I do and we would be talking a common language about some deeper things. So when we spent an afternoon talking I was not at all surprised when the conversation covered not only his music history but also both of our interpretations of philosophers like Kant, Sartre, and Bertrand Russell. Kevin teaches high school and in a phone conversation before we got together he mentioned that teaching is a performance art too. I was definitely looking forward to talking with him and hearing what he had to say about his art. I knew that the biggest challenge for me would be to not talk too much myself. Early in our conversation Kevin told me that I shouldn’t worry about that since he teaches history (among other things) and he talks a lot.

When I met Kevin and his family we talked about our lives, our families, and the world situation up until now. At a certain point I pushed the button on my tape recorder and said this: Your background in music and academically made me think you probably see music within culture and culture within a society and the historical evolution of this society related to other societies. Do you approach music with this in mind? He then said the following:

KS: Here is the interesting thing. Here is what really showed the difference (in his perspective in contrast to some that don’t have his background). Everybody has this top list of what you are supposed to do when you go to Memphis, but if you kept going when you got downtown you go past Sun Studios, you see the statue of the Grand Dragon of the KKK, Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. You also see the old dilapidated house of Memphis Slim in the same neighborhood. I also noticed a place that cuts hair there in that neighborhood. (He also told about the school at Stax Studio and he wanted to check it out). The idea from my background, those are the things, for me to go and see, making the connection between this and realize ‘what is this blues music?’ and as a white folks, we can turn it on or off, but think about what blacks deal with in this country when they see that statue every day. I will never completely understand it. That’s the blues but I will never understand it the same way. Memphis is a real place. When I was at Stax Studio and nobody else noticed that (in addition to the Grand Wizard statue) across the street is the home of Memphis Slim…It is fenced in and will be renovated. There is also Stax School. Right at the T in the road I can see a hair cutting place. My perception is of the things around it. I imagine that it was there when Stax was happening. I bet I could find old people in the neighborhood who could talk about the neighborhood history. That was Memphis. It wasn’t Sun Studios, it wasn’t Graceland, … It was all the things next to what you were supposed to see. (Kevin and I talked about how the music comes from the souls of the people and has a connection to the place it came from.)

RH: You lived in St Louis so the south was not completely new to you. I also saw an online interview with you where you talked about having a heavy metal influence but then being in contact with the St Louis Blues scene. What was going on with all of that?

KS: Where in the world is that?

Photo By Tim & Michelle Burge
RH: Click on Wired Band and then click around and you may find it. Can you tell more about how you went from early interest in music to what lead to blues?

KS: Oh, that’s Madison Pub and Rob Bramblett, and Seed of Seattle. Well, I had played music all through school. Unfortunately they let me be in all band classes in high school and I didn’t learn anything. That’s why it took me so long to get out of college. They just let me take four band classes and two regular classes.

RH: They let you do that somewhere?

KS: In Moscow Idaho you could. I don’t understand why they did that. If you look at the transcripts you see choir, orchestra, band…

RH: You can do that in college. You can major in music.

KS: I was well aware of that and actually spent some time in Hawaii majoring in music at the University of Hawaii. I was learning different types of music. That was an amazing experience too because if you walk into a theory class at the University of Hawaii and you were walking into a class where it was not agreed upon that there were twelve notes in a scale. Instructors had to re-think how to teach music. Why does it (music) do what it does. In many Asian cultures there is no twelve note scale. There are semi –tones and stuff. One of the scales from Japan is a blues scale, the same notes and they bend the same way but different. In India there is a chord in their culture that is beautiful but a half step away it is discord and sounds out of tune.

RH: Can you bend genres with blues and all other cultures in the world?

KS: Absolutely.

RH: I was thinking about something you said earlier and thinking of Rye Cooter who put together the film, “Buena Vista Social Club”. He visited old neighborhoods in Cuba asking who may have known some old guys that used to perform a type of music not heard anywhere else.

KS: (Kevin picked up on this train of thought and ran with it). Some of those guys, man, some of those guys were driving buses and were janitors. Johnny Johnson, great example, you know who he is right? He was the piano player who hired Chuck Berry, and it turns out, arranged all those hits. Chuck Berry would come in with vocals and an idea for a song and Johnny Johnson would say, “This is the way it goes.” He didn’t know he was co-writing Johnny B. Good and Roll over Beethoven. But if you listen, all of those hits have the same piano player on it. He was arranging all the songs for Chuck Berry. When I was living in St Louis one of the people I ran into was Johnny Johnson. He was a bus driver. He used to play with Chuck Berry. Chuck Berry, you could see every couple weeks. He’d walk into a club and be sitting there watching music in St Louis or sitting in and playing with whoever. I played with him (Johnny Johnson) who is now in the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame. He had played with the Rolling Stones…and was hanging out with Keith Richards. I replaced him in a band on piano in the late ‘80s. I hired him for $40 a night to play piano during the same time period he sometimes performed with Keith Richards. I was playing some Hawaiian guitar I had been learning. He was just Johnny Johnson, a really nice guy. He may get $4,000 from Keith and $40 from me.

That was a cool thing about my education in St Louis, was to know these guys. Big Fat Smitty was one of these guys: a hard drinkin’ huge piano mover from East St Louis. He also sang in a band. Just getting him focused enough to do a gig was amazing. He was Howlin’ Wolf’s size and had the same tough as nails demeanor. He would show up and what a character: he’d always have a flask of whiskey in his back pocket…. I played with Tommy Bankhead for a while…James Crutchfield,…some amazing guys. These old guys… I got to play with some amazing old guys. That was my education.

RH: You play guitar and piano. When did each of those begin?

KS: I’ve always been a guitar player, but opportunity knocked (for piano) because I was good friends with Jimmy Lee Kent who was Godfather of the blues scene in St Louis …Greg Edick, whose father was George Edick, didn’t always show up on time. I was told to bring a bass in case he didn’t show up. So I was bringing in equipment. After a month he was used to me and finally asked (after I had played bass) “what else do you play?” I said I played piano. So I was on stage and the piano was turned off but I was going through the motions like I was Jerry Lee Lewis. After the show people came up and said “that was great.” In six months I could play piano.

RH: What early influence made you go from not just liking music but deciding you wanted to play it?

KS: My dad played some piano…. I had an older brother who whenever I was interested in something, would make something happen. If I got interested in guitar he’d show up with an amp….Things were pretty boring in Moscow Idaho (where he learned to play as a kid.)

RH: Many grow up on rock and along the way get interested in blues. How did you get interested in playing blues?

KS: I think the blues always has been of interest. I like jazz but can’t play it. I couldn’t play heavy metal either. I loved it but could not play it. Blues just feels like what I feel comfortable with.

RH: With blues fans, I know in my case, after being around a while and going through the school of hard knocks a little bit, I would hear blues and think “that is what I wanted to say.” With playing it, in your case, how did it speak to you?

KS: I could listen to one measure of jazz and think about it all day long. So much going on it overwhelmed me. (Kevin then imitated some heavy metal sounds and talked about how there was a lot going on there too.)

RH: You mentioned that teaching is a performance art. What do you mean?

KS: It is not just about talking but getting a student to interact with you. It is like being a therapist and trying to get someone to lay on the couch. You sometimes get kids to say some amazing things that become an educational experience for the whole class. (He gave some examples that we discussed for some time.) There are kids from Mexico and think they are Spanish. I asked a kid if his grandparents live in Mexico and the kid says yes. I ask if their grandparents speak any other language and he said “Yes they speak this other language called ….” That is what the ancient Aztecs spoke (Kevin’s background in Anthropology was very useful for this). So I ask why they would be speaking what the ancient Aztecs spoke. They then realize where they came from. So, I have gotten good at drawing people in with teaching. It is not about me telling an interesting story, it is about me drawing kids in so they want to be part of the conversation. (Kevin also told about a situation where he was telling about the European colonization of 3rd World Nations and a kid said “So we won, right?” Kevin pointed out to the student that such “winning” was at the expense of many of the ancestors of his classmates, and asked if he had thought about that. The class got a chance to discuss the world in a deeper way right then.)

RH: Can you tell how that relates to what you are doing with music?

KS: I don’t think I am quite there yet with music. I am learning to do that.

RH: The “Minnie the Moocher” thing draws people in, and makes them interact with you doesn’t it? Do you always do that song or just sometimes?

KS: Upon request. A lot of people love that song and then the next question is where you go from there. There is so much more to do than that. With music, it’s maybe 20% of what it should be. I’ve got a couple more songs where I try to recreate that atmosphere without copying that song. There is the call and response, but it is still in development. I just know it could be a lot better…more of a connection. For this next album I have 60 or 70 songs and I have to pick about 10 of them that may help get there. I would be happy if we have one song that makes people think “Oh, those were the guys that did that song.”

RH: Is there any pattern to how you write, some riffs or some lyrics first?

KS: One song I wrote that some people like called “And You Should Be Jealous”. It is a song about politicians. Heather Coleman lives here in Everett and was at a show at Benaroyal Hall. She sends a message from the show saying “I am listening to…and you should be jealous.” I started thinking about that phrase and soon the song wrote itself. Do you practice writing songs by writing songs or by experiencing life? (Kevin argues that it is mainly life and told about how the old early blues masters who worked all day long were not the professionally trained musicians and may have played horrible guitars but came out with this music. We discussed Howlin’ Wolf who played a few licks on harmonica and had the gravel in his voice but it was able to sound great. Kevin said that when he tries to play too many notes on guitar it doesn’t work as well for him.)

RH: Will you always do this?

KS: I think so. I just finished Keith Richards’ autobiography and that is what he says too. I started teaching late and don’t have a 401K, I have to do something for retirement. In a few years maybe I will do it sitting down.

RH: So your current project is the next CD. When do you expect it to be done?

KS: It has had stops and starts, been a long time comin’, maybe by this summer.

RH: How long has there been a Wired Band?

KS: It’s been four or five years. The character behind the band though is Keith, the bass player. He has played since the sixties from Anchorage to Sacramento. He is Rick’s wife’s uncle. There’s a place in Snohomish called The Wired Coffee House. It had an open mic there. We were jamming there. So we were the Wired Unplugged Coffee House Band and got a gig at the Snohomish Farmers Market for $40 bucks. Then there was a bar that opened up called The Speakeasy and they wanted Rockabilly. Rockabilly is a little like blues, you just pick up the beat a little bit, it’s just swing music. Rick and I quit the (earlier) band we were in, which was Miles from Chicago. Eventually started writing original material and got gigs.

Kevin talked for some time that afternoon about how he feels like he just showed up recently on the blues scene here and wants to contribute more to the life of that scene. More music will be created by Kevin Sutton. It didn’t take much time from the first gig in Snohomish to getting the Best of the Blues Awards this year. On one hand there is a high degree of modesty and self-examination. On the other hand there is a determination to create music at a higher quality level than this BB Award winner has yet reached. It is the interaction of those contradictory parts of his thinking that is driving his future development. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Review "Tastes Like Chicken" - Bad Influence (Badblues Records)

By Suzanne Swanson 
Washingtonian (as in District of Columbia, the “other” Washington) Magazine hails Bad Influence as "a part of a long and worthy Washington blues tradition." With an award for best blues band, in 2003 by the Washington Area Music Association, Bad Influence has garnered a devoted following.

Eleven of the 12 songs on this CD are penned by band members Michael ‘Jr’ Tash, Roger Edsall, Bob Mallardi, and David Thaler. “Love” jumps right into it, literally, with a tale about a married man’s best friend in this computer age. “Don’t Forget Your Nightclothes” moves smoothly along with background sax from Jay Corder with Michael Tash on guitar. We can see why this group is so popular on “She What?” and audiences are guaranteed finger-snapping blues and boogie, coupled with shout-out hooks that keep on coming. “Road House” and “B-Flick Man”, allow us to smile at our own foibles while keeping the beat bright.

Sliding into a slow blues “Talkin’ To the Wall,” with a nice wailing sax solo, speaks to the pain and futility of trying to salvage a relationship past its “pull date.” On “DC Driver” we are up and dancing, or driving far too recklessly, with this story about road rage in the nation’s Capital. After “Break Out” we move to a solid bass line that slips easily into “When I’m With You.” “Run to The Money” moves along to dove-tail into the instrumental “Cat Fight,” showing off the skills of Roger Edsall on harp, Bob Mallardi on stand-up bass, and David Thaler on drums. The finishing touch is a very capable cover of a James Harmon tune, “The Clown.” Having heard Harmon perform this myself, it had me smiling and bobbing my head in appreciation. Well done, fellas!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Couer D’Alene Blues Festival 2012 March 30, 31 & April 1

Let the festivals begin! You gotta love the coming of spring in the Pacific NW if your a blues fan. Blues Festivals start to coming to life, and the season is in full bloom by summer. The gorgeous town of Couer D' Alene, Idaho just across the Washington State line from Spokane is one of the spring blues festivals to enjoy.

The Inland Empire Blues Society (IEBS) gave The Coeur d’Alene Blues Festival the award for Best Blues Event in 2011. The organizers hope to improve this festival every year and show everyone why they earned the award. In keeping with their award win, they have chosen all IEBS award winners to perform this year with over 20 awards given amongst all the acts joining the festival, as well as TWO international touring acts.  The organizers are predicting this to be the BEST Coeur d’Alene Blues Festival ever, and cover the blues from Acoustic, to Electric Slide, to Rocking originals, to R&B and back again. Read below to find out more...

A Summary of Festival Events Includes:
  • Delta Preachers, winners of the Best Acoustic Blues Act from the IEBS in the newly remodeled Whispers Lounge Friday & Saturday afternoon 4-6:30PM
  • Boat Cruise and Dock Party on Friday March 30th. 7:00PM

Blues Cruise will feature The Fat Tones & Laffin' Bones Friday March 30 7PM
These are two great party bands. The Fat Tones are Hall of Famers with the Inland Empire Blues Society having won multiple awards multiple times. The Fat Tones's Bobby Patterson just won the 2011 Best Blues Guitarist as well. Laffin’ Bones just won Best Blues Band. This is the Tones & Bones Fat& Laffin’ Party Time Blues Cruise. They are hooking two Cruise boats together and putting a band on each one, Then tying their sound systems together so the sound is in each boat. They will do alternating sets. The party is from 7-10PM Friday March 30th. The boat will cruise on Lake Couer D'Alene from 7:30-9:30PM with partying at dockside before and after including Full bar and dancing.

The Main Event
The Coeur d’Alene Resort’s Convention Center will host a party that includes 2 stages and 4 incredible bands on Saturday, March 31st. With a stage on each end, there is no down time. Two stages of Blues make for a seamless transition from one band to the next. This party starts at 7PM, The 2012 Four Band lineup includes: 

     7PM - Big Mumbo Blues Band

They have won the Best Blues Band from the IEBS for 3 years in a row, so were ineligible to win again this year, so they won 5 other awards instead including Best Male Vocalist, Best Female Vocalist, Best Keyboardist, Best Drummer, Best Female Performer. A six piece soul thumping R&B blues band that has started this party every year for a good reason. They’re really good at it. 

     8:30PM - Roy Rogers & The Delta Rhythm Kings

One of the two international headliners, Roy Rogers is arguably the best slide guitarist performing today. He has had 8 Grammy nominations as a producer and performer. He has received numerous accolades for his songwriting (Grammy Nomination for ‘Song for Jessica’, Grammy nomination with Bonnie Raitt on ‘Gnawin’ On It which he co-wrote), as well as his work on movie soundtracks and television.

Rogers was a featured guitarist with John Lee Hooker's Coast to Coast Blues Band in the early 1980s. He has recorded not only on his own to critical acclaim, but with others including Carlos Santana, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt, Norton Buffalo, Steve Miller, Sammy Hagar, Ray Manzarek and many others. He has been touring worldwide since 1982 and has performed in some of the world’s most prestigious festivals including Montreux, North Sea Jazz Festival, Pori, Pistoia, New Orleans Jazz Festival and more. His ability to electrify and move audiences is legendary.

     10PM - Coco Montoya

The second headliner was mentored by legendary bluesman Albert Collins. Coco went on to become the guitarist for John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers for ten years before leading his own band to win Best New Blues Artist in Memphis at The Blues Awards back in 1996.

Critics rave and audiences adore this true master of the electric blues. His last album, I Want It All Back , was produced by Keb Mo’ and Blues Revue said, "Blistering contemporary blues... piercing attack, funky, shivery guitar tones and aggressive, soulful vocals." The Village Voice declared, "The fiery blues that issue forth from Coco Montoya's guitar are awe-inspiring and boogie requiring." A self taught guitar slinger who plays with an emotional intensity few string benders possess, he plays left-handed and up side down in the style of Albert King and Jimi Hendrix. He has played every major Blues Festival around the world and is a favorite performer at every one of them.

     11:30PM - Kenny James Miller Band 

The Festival closer, hailing from Kalispel, Montana. This very rocking trio has tore it up around the Northwest lately, having just been given the Best New Blues Band award from the Inland Empire Blues Society. Known for their great live performances, this mostly original band has become a mainstay at area festivals. Last Spring they were also a Washington State Blues finalist for the International Blues Challenge in Memphis having won the Spokane Semi-Final Competition. But mostly, this band rocks the blues.

On Friday and Saturday in the Coeur d’Alene Resort’s Splash Lounge two of the areas most popular dancing blues bands play.

After the Blues Cruise Friday night, Splash will feature Sammy Eubanks. Award winning vocalist and favorite frontman Sammy Eubanks and his band will rock the house. His last album Riding Alone just won Best Blues Album from the IEBS and he was also awarded Best Male Vocalist by The Washington State Blues Society. Also, be prepared to dance.

Saturday night at the Splash will feature The Fat Tones, so if you don't catch them on the blues cruise you can catch them here. Smoking hot blues and a favorite regional dance band, this one is fun. Bobby Patterson is also an IEBS winner this year, for Best Blues Guitarist. “Their harmonies are amazing, Bobby Patterson’s guitar playing is world class, and their songs are guaranteed to make you dance.” –Robert Horn W.B.S. Bluesletter

A Gospel Brunch will close the Festival on Sunday, from 10AM to 2PM

The Shore Lounge will host the Spokane Community Gospel Ensemble featuring a cappella vocalists made up from the Spokane Community Gospel Mass Choir. 

Ticket , Lodging and Other Information...