Tag Archive: festival


2009 Performer: Bernie Pearl

Bernie Pearl

The blues is life itself to Bernie Pearl. A guitarist with an upbeat, finger-poppin’ picking style he learned at the elbows of bluesmasters Sam ‘Lightnin’ Hopkins, Mance Lipscomb, Mississippi Fred MacDowell, and others. Yet, Bernie Pearl is no hidebound traditionalist. As music critics and aficionados have said for years, he is a craftsman who packs his songs with melodic interpretations that are new and personal each time he picks up his vintage Martin or National. To hear him tell it, “I’m not a retro player. I’m playing real blues for right now.”

Bernie, who grew up in the Los Angeles community of Boyle Heights, took up the guitar in the 1950′s. Later, at his brother’s legendary blues showcase, the Ash Grove, he met, studied with, and often performed with greats like Hopkins, Lipscomb, and MacDowell as well as with Freddie King, Albert Collins, and Big Mama Thornton. Bernie played duets with John Lee Hooker at Gerde’s Folk City in Greenwich Village. “They were my teachers,” he says, “and it wasn’t just music they were teaching. If you took Mance or Lightnin’ out fishing you got philosophy, history, and lessons in life”.

Armed with the teachings of those and other blues icons, Bernie raises the roof with dazzling guitar solos – acoustic and electric – and with his own Bernie Pearl Blues Band, which has backed the likes of B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Willie Dixon, and Big Joe Turner.

For music lovers tired of market-tested commercial radio and industry-buffed overnight phenoms, Pearl provides virtuosity, country wisdom, a warm voice, and the kind of fingerpicking and slide guitar work that still gets juke-joints jumping.

“Making blues music draws from someplace deep,” he says. “I’m lucky. It’s what I do.”

We are also pleased to announce that Bernie will not only be performing at the 2009 festival, he will also be providing a free blues guitar workshop at the Buchanan Center for the Arts on Saturday morning, October 24th, from 10:30am until noon. For more information, click here.

Visit Bernie’s website at: www.berniepearl.com

2009 Performer: Joe Price

Joe Price

Joe Price, an alumni of our first-ever blues festival, returns to provide another great set of foot stomping, good times blues. He’ll perform both solo and with his wife Vicki, shredding his guitar, stomping the floorboards of the Rivoli and delivering music that will challenge you to sit still.

Joe has the stories to back up his music’s soul. To hear the slide guitarist talk about his life – learning to play by watching Chicago blues guitarist, Earl Hooker; falling in love with his wife, Vicki, after she played music with him in a bar; nearly severing his left hand in high school and taking five years to learn to play again – is like listening to a fairy tale. Joe Price was born to play the blues.

Joe has now been performing professionally for 35 years. He was inducted into the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame in 2002. He has also received the honor of appearing in the last two National Guitar Catalogues playing the “National ResoLectric Guitar”. Joe was a finalist in the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge 2006, held in Memphis, TN. Joe has 3 single CD’s released at this time, featuring his stunning slide work and original songs.

Joe’s music is flavored more to the juke joint end of the blues: a bit rough and tons of fun. He is a great example of how one learns to do stuff right – slide technique, study of the masters – and then learns to break all the rules to make his music truly unique and all his own.

Visit Joe’s website: joepriceblues.com

2009 Performer: Hayes and Fleming

Hayes & Fleming

Charlie Hayes and Joel Fleming have been fixtures on the local music scene for decades. Together, they make a powerful blues duet, sensing each other’s musical energy and crafting brilliant blues improvisations.

Charlie’s acoustic blues range from the classic sounds of Robert Johnson to the contemporary picking of Keb Mo. Charlie is known for his rock-solid back beat (both mono and alternating bass) and multi-string leads, coupled with searing vocals and the ability to either play dead-on “in the pocket” or mix it up with some rough and savage playing.

Joel performed in the mid-1980s with the Air Force Tops in Blue, a musical showcase, touring overseas. In the 1985 Hohner Harmonica contest he placed second in the nation. He is an accomplished harmonica player on both diatonic and chromatic. Joel plays with a unique, jazzy style, employing subtle tones, phrasing and echo effects to create a compelling, mesmerizing counterpoint to Charlie’s guitar.

Joel has been playing harp for over 40 years and Charlie has been playing professionally for over 30 years. On October 24th, they’ll take those 70+ years of combined experience to deliver an amazing opening act for this year’s Deep Blue Innovators festival, plus they’ll also manage and run the after-show jam and open mic.

2009 Amazon Artist Stores

Amazon store

Amazon.com has a pretty nifty way to display a “store” for a specific musical artist, often allowing previews of music, CDs for purchase and MP3s.

I’ve put together links to the stores of the 2009 Deep Blue Innovators national artists, so you can check out their music and perhaps pick up a CD or two to prepare for the festival.

Bernie Pearl Returns to Long Beach

Blues legend Bernie Pearl will be returning to play at the Long Beach Blues Festival, an event he founded. The Long Beach Gazette has a great article on the festival as well as Bernie Pearl. For fans of the Deep Blue Innovators Blues festival, it’s a must read.

To read the article, click here.

Bernie Pearl Workshop

Bernie Pearl

This year, we’ll be launching our Deep Blue Innovators Blues Festival day with a wonderful opportunity. Blues guitar legend Bernie Pearl will host a 90 minute blues guitar workshop at the Buchanan Center for the Arts (just a half block from the historic Rivoli Theatre) on the morning of Saturday, October 24th (start time: 10:30am).

Bernie has been playing the blues for over fifty years, and took his first lessons from blues legend Brownie McGee (with Sonny Terry in attendance). He’s played with the giants of country blues, including Mance Lipscomb, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Mississippi Fred MacDowell.

This workshop is free an open to the public, but seating is limited, so be sure to RSVP via email if you’d like to be sure to have a spot at this once-in-a-lifetime workshop.

Bernie suggests attendees bring an acoustic guitar (or unplugged electric), thumb pick and slide. It’s open to all levels, but attendees should know basic guitar chords.

Some words from Bernie about the workshop:


I think what I have to say would benefit anyone interested in acoustic/country blues guitar. I emphasize right hand position and picking techniques, rather than scales or specific song arrangements – although I do have specific ideas on how to make soloing easier and more idiomatic. My real offering is how to make your playing sound like the blues.

Announcing the 2009 Festival Line-Up!

Deep Blue Innovators Blues Festival

Well friends, the wait is finally over! We started working to put together the lineup for the 2009 festival late last fall, moments after the 2008 festival wrapped up, and now we’re ready to let you know. We’ve stepped up the ante this year, with more national musicians. You’ll be able to experience some of the hottest blues musicians anywhere at our little festival.

As you know, the theme for this year’s festival is Deep Blue Innovators. We are bringing you artists that have their souls firmly set in the blues, but are doing interesting, innovative and amazing things to push the genre forward. Here is your 2009 lineup:

Charlie Hayes and Joel Fleming
Joe Price
Bernie Pearl
Shawn Kellerman
Watermelon Slim

The festival will be at the historic Rivoli Theatre on October 24th, 2009. Tickets are available now online, and will be available locally in late August. Doors will open at 2pm with the first act starting around 2:30pm. Of course, we’ll also tempt your taste buds with rib dinners from the famous Eddie B!

We’ll also be doing something special this year: blues master Bernie Pearl will be hosting a free blues guitar workshop on the morning of the festival, at the Buchanan Center for the Arts. We’ll have more information on this exciting opportunity soon!

Check back here often–over the coming weeks, we’ll run features on each of these amazing musicians. Mark your calendar and we’ll see you at the show!

2009 Blues Festival Poster

Festival Poster

The Fans Speak

Some fans have shared their thoughts on the 2009 Deep Blue Innovators Blues Festival. Comments like these keep us working hard to make each year the best day of music possible!

“What a great SHOW! Well done.”

“OUTSTANDING!!! It was well worth the 5 hour trip from Wisconsin. Blues and barbecue… how much better could life get?!!”

“Thanks for having Lurrie last weekend. All went very well I hear!”

“It was a tremendous show!”

“Thanks for organizing another great Blues festival; I particularly enjoyed Michelle Malone’s performance!”

“Carol and I had a great time at the October festival. As usual, the music was fantastic. While it may be described as “Blues”, we thought all of entertainers together with the reaction of the crowd, made the afternoon and evening a very enjoyable event – not “blue” at all!”

Blues Festival Pictures

The 2008 Deep Blue Innovators Blues Festival was a huge success! The crowd was riveted for nearly eight hours of live music. We had fans coming far and wide for the show and I think the musicians had as much fun as the folks in the audience.

Below are some pictures of the event. Photo credits (and a huge Thanks You!) go out to Doug Rankin, Gerald Wildbahn and IllinoisBlues.com. Enjoy!

For a more complete photo archive (same photo credits), click here.

Charlie and Joel

Matthew Skoller

Fred Dixon

Michelle Malone

Lurrie Bell

Deep Blue Innovators Blues Festival Schedule

Saturday, October 25th, 2008
At the historic Rivoli Theatre in Monmouth, Illinois

Need directions to the Rivoli? Click here.

EVENT SCHEDULE:

2pm: doors open

2:30pm: Charlie Hayes and Joel Fleming perform

3:45pm: Matthew Skoller Band performs

5: Fred Dixon performs

5:45: Michelle Malone performs

7:15: Lurrie Bell performs

9:15: open jam

Eddie B will serve rib snacks, full rib dinner and pulled pork sandwiches from 4pm-8pm.

This schedule is a best guess. We’ve got a lot of musical equipment to change out from act to act. Be sure to kick back and hang out for the open jam!

We’ll see you at the show!!

Tickets for the Show

Just a quick reminder – it’s not too late to buy your tickets locally or online for a savings (the early-bird price is just $14)!

If we receive online ticket orders between now (Friday, Oct. 17) and next Friday (Oct. 24), we won’t send them out via mail, but rather hold them at the Rivoli box office in your name, so they’ll be waiting for you at the show.

Tickets are also available locally in Monmouth (Daw Violins, the Bijou Pub), in Galesburg (Cherry Street Guitar, Music Makers, Capitol Music), in Macomb (Capitol Music) and in Burlington (Weird Harolds).

You’ll also be able to pick up tickets at the door for $17.

We’ll see you at the show!

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