Category: local events

2011 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival

This weekend, July 1-3, blues artists descend on LeClaire Park in Davenport for the 27th annual Mississippi Valley Blues Festival. Get all the info here. See you at the show!

Walter Trout Playing Fat Fish on Monday

Legendary electric blue guitarist Walter Trout will perform at the Fat Fish Pub in Galesburg on Monday, March 21st. Tickets are $20 in advance. It’s an early show – doors open at 4pm and the show kicks off at 6pm. Don’t miss this chance to see a legendary guitarist in action!

For more information, visit Fat Fish here.

Duke Robillard at Fat Fish

Blues guitar great Duke Robillard will be playing at the Fat Fish Pub in Galesburg this Sunday, November 21st. Duke is a masterful guitar soloist and evangelist for the blues, called by the New York Times “a soloist of stunning force and originality.” Tickets are $20 before the show and $25 at the door. Doors open at 4pm and the show will kick off at 6pm.

Fat Fish Pub website.

Official Duke Robillard website.

Blues Harmonica Workshop October 21st

Long-time harp-man David Bernston will be in town with Little Joe McLerran and will deliver a free harmonica workshop at the Wells Theatre on the Monmoputh College campus. The workshop will be at 7pm on Thursday, October 21st at 7pm. Free harmonicas to the first 100 attendees!

For a great read, check out David Bernston’s blog – he covers the trek with Little Joe to the Middle East.

Jimmy Thackery at Fat Fish on Thursday!

Hot guitarist and found member of the Nighthawks Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers will descend on the Fat Fish Pub this Thursday. Tickets are $25 at the door (opens at 4pm) and the show starts at 6pm.

Thackery comes by his six-string brilliance honestly, having learned from the very best sources. Besides Buddy Guy and Jimi Hendrix, Thackery cites Chicago axe master Otis Rush as a primary influence. Moreover, he learned quite a bit from playing on stage alongside such blues legends as Muddy Waters, James Cotton and Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson.

Thackery has been acclaimed as one of the hottest live acts around, with his jaw-dropping performances becoming the stuff of legend. As the Boston Globe put it, “Jimmy Thackery is a four-hour performer. That’s not how long he plays, but how long one should travel to see him. He’s a phenomenal guitarist, one of the best we’ve seen.”

Kellerman Rocks MVBS Festival

We trekked up to the IH Mississippi Valley Blues fest on July 4th and enjoyed an amazing day of live music. Standouts included Bill Sims and Mark LaVoie, playing old school Delta blues with some sweet harmonica. We also spied harmonica wizard Matthew Skoller in the audience catching the grooves.

The Shawn Kellerman Band ripped up the main stage just as folks were starting to freak about the rain. A few drops fell and the radar looked dire, but the festival was spared and Kellerman destroyed the set. We had a chance to stop by and talk with them after the show – it was Kellerman’s birthday and the MVBS provided a huge cake for him.

Other standouts were Kim Massie, belting out with an amazing voice, and for the headliner, it was the Tommy Castro Band featuring Debbie Davis on guitar, Magic Dick (of J. Geils Band fame) on harp and Sista Monica on vocals. The rythm and blues revue tore up the stage and Sista Monica riveted the crowd with an amazing parformance.

All in all, another great year of music for the MVBS. Great job guys – keep the blues flowing!

Mississippi Valley Blues Festival This Weekend

The awesome Mississippi Valley Blues Festival is this weekend in LeClaire Park in Davenport. It looks to be an amazing three days of music, and I hope to see you there!

Some standout performances include 2008 Deep Blue Innovators alumni Lurrie Bell on Friday, 2010 DBI performer (and workshop leader) Little Joe McLerran on Saturday, 2009 DBI performer Shawn Kellerman on Sunday as well as Tony Castro and the Nighthawks.

For a full lineup, click here.

See the Bruce Katz Band at Fat Fish

See this amazing, energized piano-based band on Tuesday, June 22nd at the Fat Fish Pub in Galesburg.

Bruce Katz is a legendary keyboardist (Hammond B3 and piano), and besides leading his own band is currently a member of the Gregg Allman Band. Based in Woodstock, NY, he has appeared on nearly 70 other CDs with the likes of Ronnie Earl, Duke Robillard, Little Milton, Jimmy Witherspoon, John Hammond, David “Fathead” Newman and many, many others.

The Bruce Katz Band blurs the lines between blues, soul-jazz, rock and New Orleans inspired roots music – their trademark instrumental jams with an equal number of vocal tunes as well. The band has a trademark sound, blending the B3 organ and guitar. Bruce has been nominated for the past 3 years in a row by the Memphis based Blues Foundation for their “Piano Player of the Year” award, which is the equivalent of the “Blues Grammys”.

For more information, see the Fat Fish Pub website… click here.

MVBS Presents Albert Castiglia

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents the Albert Castiglia Band on Tuesday June 22 at Rascals, 1414 15th Street, Moline. The show starts at 7 p.m., and admission is $7.00, $5.00 for MVBS members.

The Miami New-Times notes that Castiglia is “ a standout showman and exceptional guitarist… His live performances are events in themselves, thanks to Castiglia’s penchant for tossing off stirring solos while strolling off the stage and wandering out on the sidewalk.” Vintage Guitar magazine says, “Castiglia the songwriter shows a knowing grasp of the blues’ variations and nuances and instinctive feel for what works. This is no one-note man… His unabashed love and respect for the music is lit large. Albert Castiglia is acolyte, priest and proselytizer for America’s great native music.”

Preliminary Round of the Iowa Blues Challenge

This just in: Admission is now $5, $4 for Mississippi Valley Blues Society members.

The preliminary round of the Iowa Blues Challenge will be held at Rascals (1414 15th St., Moline) on Sunday April 11th starting at 5:00 p.m. Admission is $10, $7 for Mississippi Valley Blues Society members. The Pocket Deuces Blues Band takes the stage at 5:00, V.J.J. Groove comes on at 6:00, and the Steady Rollin’ Blues Band starts at 7:00. Each band will play a 30- minute set, and after the challenge there will be a jam session.

The bands will be judged by three experts from as far away as Des Moines and Peoria. Each band will be evaluated in five categories: blues content, vocal talent, instrumental talent, originality, and stage presence. The winner of this Quad-City round will travel to Des Moines on May 22 to compete at the state level. The winner of the Iowa Blues Challenge will then travel to Memphis in early 2011 to compete in the International Blues Challenge. The winner of the Iowa Blues Challenge will also have a slot at the 2010 IH Mississippi Valley Blues Festival. Last year’s winners of the Iowa Blues Challenge were The Avey Brothers Band of the Quad-Cities; they went on to become finalists in Memphis.

Visit Rascals online here.

Tommy Castro Band

Tommy Castro

The Tommy Castro Band will be appearing at Galesburg’s Fat Fish Pub on Sunday, April 18 (showtime is 6pm).

Castro is a rising star of the blues, and has been honored with a slew of award nominations for 2010, including Band of the Year and the B.B. King Entertainer of the Year by the Blues Music Awards.

Check out Tommy’s website here.

Brooks Williams at Tri States NPR

Brooks Williams

The amazing Brooks Williams brings this season’s Celebration Concert series to a close at 7PM on Saturday, March 27th in Tri States NPR’s Music Performance Studio in Macomb.

You can buy tickets here.

Friday Night Fun

The Friday before the 2009 Deep Blue Innovators Blues Festival saw local musicians and festival performers take the stage at Buddes in Galesburg.

Joe Price, Vicki Price, Bernie Pearl and Mike Barry all took the stage for some solid blues jams as did local favorites Mike Budde, Nathan Hahn and Curtis Hawkins.

The packed bar got to hear a preview of the festival as well as win some festival swag (t-shirts, tickets and CDs).

Matthew Skoller Profile

Matthew Skoller

One of the hardest working harmonica-based blues groups in Chicago, The Matthew Skoller Band rocks with a fierceness not felt since the likes of blues harp icons Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson II. Skoller and his band of veteran musicians are at the forefront of a new generation who’ve come up schooled in Chicago’s world-renowned and highly competitive blues scene.

As with many blues performers of his generation, Skoller’s been influenced as much by Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix and the Allman Brothers as by the legends of blues. Skoller’s take on the blues tradition is about letting his own voice come through — his culture, his experience.

Skoller moved to Chicago in January 1987. His already mature harmonica playing led a number of musicians to take him under their wings. He paid his dues backing up a “who’s who” of creative and passionate musicians, including the legendary Jimmy Rogers, Big Time Sarah, and Deitra Farr.

Despite his success working with others, Skoller heard the crying of an inner voice and since 1992 has led his own band. Like a tornado, he’s blown through the Chicago blues scene.

In October 1996, the band was a prizewinner at the International Blues Talent Competition held by the Blues Foundation in Memphis. That same year, Hohner Harmonicas installed Skoller as an endorsee.

(edited from

Matthew Skoller Poster

Here’s the poster you’ll see around town. Matthew also send some groovy full color posters that you’ll see out an about as well.

Matthew Skoller

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