Tag Archive: press


Chocolate Drops Win Grammy!

2010 Deep Blue Innovators Blues Festival headliner, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, took home the Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album for Genuins Negro Jig in last Sunday’s Grammy Awards event!

In other Chocolate Drops news, Nonesuch Records spokeswoman Melissa Cusick told The Associated Press that founding member Justin Robinson has left the band. Beat boxer Adam Matta and multi-instrumentalist Hubby Jenkins are coming aboard to join Rhiannon Giddens and Dom Flemons, she said.

Also, on Wednesday’s American Idol Hollywood Week group day, one of the songs the contestants could select was Hit Em Up Style, a Blu Cantrell song that the Chocolate Drops recorded on Genuine Negro Jig and performed to an enthusiastic crowd at last year’s festival.

2010 Festival Press Release

Monmouth, IL, October 12, 2009 — For the fourth time in as many years, innovative blues artists will hit the old vaudeville stage of the historic Rivoli Theatre in Monmouth, Illinois to participate in the Deep Blue Innovators Blues Festival on Saturday, October 23rd.

The Rivoli Theatre is a venerable old venue, starting its life as a vaudeville theater and then as the fanciest movie house in Monmouth. The greenroom under the stage has played home-away-from-home for eighty plus years of performers, yet the 60,000 watt computer-matched sound system delivers sweet blues music to every seat in the house.

As 2009 headliner Watermelon Slim mused: “I’m a man who loves old theaters and old hotels– I’m a historian, and I’m old now, so I guess I just like old things even more now. I am looking forward to breathing the air inside such a veteran theatre, seeing the places backstage where the dust has long settled because the broom or vacuum nozzle couldn’t get to them– there won’t be many places like that, of course– and imbibing the entertainment history represented in the years of accumulation.”

This year’s festival will feature local guitar hero Charlie Hayes opening up with his long-time harpist, Joel Fleming. The two of them together have close to 70 years combined musical experience and have delivered the opening set for each year of the festival. Hayes also works the stage for the festival and leads the open mic after the evening’s sets wind down.

Little Joe McLerran will hit the stage next as a three piece outfit, with Little Joe stomping out the beat, playing old school blues guitar and delivering his rich, intoxicating vocals. He’ll be accompanied by bassist Robbie Mack and long-time reed man Dexter Payne. Little Joe was the 2009 winner of the International Blues Challenge and is perhaps the finest Piedmont-style blues player in the world today.

Next, Vermont’s own Scott Ainslie, a 40 year veteran of deep blues guitar will hit the stages with his stories, his wicked slide technique (he is a master of the Robert Johnson style of slide playing and internationally known as a preeminent blues guitar teacher) and his deep, earth-shaking vocals.

Next on the stage will be the Dave Specter Band, from Chicago, Illinois. Dave is a long-time master guitarist, best-known for his fusion of jazz and blues guitar techniques. With nine solo albums and over 30 titles in his discography, Specter is at the top of his game. Dave will feature songs from his just released and critically acclaimed “Spectified” album, which stretches his style even further, incorporating TexMex overtones into his masterful guitar compositions.

Headliners are the internationally acclaimed Carolina Chocolate Drops. Fresh from the release of their latest album, “Genuine Negro Jig,” the Drops will be trading their giant touring venues (such as the Grand Ole Opry, Bonaroo and the Telluride Blues Festival) for the intimacy of the Rivoli stage to deliver an intimate set of deep roots blues and jigs.

“Being able to play in an old vaudeville theater really creates an amazing atmosphere since so much of this music was performed in nice houses like this,” said Dom Flemons of the Carolina Chocolate Drops. “This is for both the performers and the audience.  They are transported to an earlier time just by being entertained the way that people have been entertained for over a century.”

Earlier in the day, both Little Joe McLerran and Scott Ainslie will deliver free guitar workshops at the Buchanan Center for the Arts. Though these events are free and open to the public, seating is limited, so it’s recommenced that you head over to the MonmouthBlues.com website and reserve your spot.

Also returning for the fourth year will be Eddie’s B and his famous ribs – he’ll set up his smoker right in front of the Rivoli and smoke ribs and pulled pork throughout the day, providing the aromatic back-drop for a day of deep, intimate blues.

The Deep Blue Innovators festival is a labor-of-love for lifetime MVBS member Paul Schuytema. “My favorite event of the entire year is the MVBS festival – it’s a fourth of July ritual. That event inspired me to try something in the fall. The MVBS helped me with logistics that first year (many thanks to Ricardo Burris!), and the fest has taken on a life of it’s own.”

“The Rivoli is a small venue,” said Schuytema, “full at 300 people, but the setting is so intimate, and the fans and musicians mingle for the whole day. The fans have an amazing day of music and the performers seem to have a ball… every year, they ask if they can come back again! Last year, after the show, Watermelon Slim called me a few days later and told me ‘You truly have a world-class festival there… I’ll play any time you’ll have me’… that’s when I knew we were onto something!”

“I’ve played house concerts and sold out 1800 seat auditoriums, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’d enjoyed them both,” reflected 2010 performer Scott Ainslie. “But, if I had to choose my favorite setting, it would be something in between:  a small theater whose stage has seen generations of my brothers and sisters over the years where, rather than separating the audience and the artists, the stage is a place where we come together and get to know each other. The Rivoli is one of those places. It has soul, a history, and when it’s filled up with people and artists, a living presence. It is going to be a real pleasure to join the ranks of musicians and performers who have walked onto that stage.”

“These small events need the fans…I’d love to see tall our local blues fans there in force. That’s how we can keep this event going,” concluded Schuytema. “I’ll see you at the show!.”

Tickets are $15 prior to the show and will be $20 at the door. Tickets can be purchased online now or at the following local businesses: Monmouth (Buchanan Center for the Arts, Bijou Pub, Daw Violins), Galesburg (Cherry Street Guitars, MusicMakers, Capitol Music, Fat Fish Pub), Macomb (Capitol Music) and Burlington (Weird Harolds). Doors will open at 2pm and the show will start at 2:30pm.

MonmouthBlues.com is an initiative to bring great live blues music to the Monmouth area, as well as highlight local talent already playing around the region. Concert information, local events and event tickets can all be found online at www.MonmouthBlues.com.

Bernie Pearl Workshop Article

The Monmouth Daily Review Atlas just published an article on Saturday’s wonderful workshop with Bernie Pearl and Mike Barry. You can read it here.

2009 Festival Advance Coverage

We’ve had some great advance press come out on the festival today:

IllinoisBlues.com Blues Blast

Feature article in the Galesburg Register Mail

Well see you at the show… only two days away!

2009 Festival Press Release

Monmouth, IL, October 6, 2009 — Some of the most innovative and award-winning blues performers in the nation will descend on the Rivoli Theatre stage for the third annual MonmnouthBlues.com blues festival, on Saturday, October 24th. This day-long event will feature national and regional acts, an open mic jam and rib dinners by Eddie Burton.

The theme of this year’s festival is Deep Blue Innovators. The festival will highlight artists with a traditional “blues soul” but who are also taking innovative approaches to their music, providing something new to this classical genre of American music.

Regional performers Charlie Hayes and Joel Fleming will light up the stage as an acoustic guitar and harmonica duo. They will perform classic and new blues songs enhanced by smoking hot improvised jams.

Joe and Vicki Price (www.joepriceblues.com), from Lansing, Iowa, will return to the Rivoli stage after a toe-tapping performance at the inaugural blues festival. Joe and Vicki play a hard driving, addictive for of country blues that just compels the crowd to get up and move.

“We had such a good time the first year, that we couldn’t wait to come back,” said Price. “This is the most intimate festival around for both the musicians and the audience… a real chance to get in touch.”

Legendary blues master Bernie Pearl (www.berniepearl.com) travels to Monmouth from the Long Beach, California. Pearl cut his teeth on the blues decades ago with such bluesmasters as ‘Lightnin’ Hopkins, Mance Lipscomb and Mississippi Fred MacDowell. Pearl will not only perform at the festival, but he will also deliver a blues guitar workshop at the Buchanan Center for the Arts on Saturday morning from 10:30am until noon. This event is free and open to the public (please RSVP to paul@monmouthblues.com).

“I am very honored to be included in a festival that honors the tradition and encourages innovation,” said Pearl. “Not only am I going to get to play for a new group of people, but I get to share my ideas on playing with a bunch of blues guitarists. What fun!”

Heading to the festival from Canada is the up and coming Shawn Kellerman Band (www.shawnkellerman.com). Shawn is a guitarist and songwriter blessed with a powerful voice and serious skills on the guitar. Mixing old school blues with a taste of funk and hip hop, Kellerman is taking the blues into a new era while remaining true to the form.

“I am honored to be included in this year’s festival,” said Kellerman. “I have heard it is at a great venue and of course can’t wait to do another show with the great Watermelon Slim! I feel fun a-brewing!!!”

Headlining this year’s festival is the one and only Watermelon Slim (www.watermelonslim.com). The unconventional Slim is a musical storyteller, with a blending of traditional blues, jump blues and some vaudeville showmanship. Slim has farmed watermelons, earned multiple college degrees, worked as a truck driver, fought in Vietnam, rallied against the war and even spent time as a small time criminal.

His varied background provides fertile ground for wonderfully creative and innovative blues compositions that have earned him many awards and nominations, including 2008 album of the year (for “The Wheel Man”) and band of the year.

“Your theme– ‘Innovators’– is spot on,” said Slim, “at least as far as I’m concerned. I try to keep the music new, keep it my own. The blues will never be a museum exhibit in my hands, nosireebob!”

“However, I am also a man who loves old theaters… I am looking forward to breathing the air inside such a veteran theater, seeing the places backstage where the dust has long settled because the broom or vacuum nozzle couldn’t get to them.”

“Ah, the familiar glide of curtain velvet, the dear little set-up routine, the sound of the crowd increasing in the lobby as showtime approaches– the applause, the blessing of the crowd– the nightcap afterwards– all of this I’m looking forward to at the Rivoli Theatre!”

The Rivoli Theatre, with is remodeled interior and state of the art sound system, is an intimate, unforgettable location to watch this performers work their craft. Anyone who has performed or seen one of the MonmouthBlues.com events at the Rivoli can attest to the quality of the sound and the comfort of the venue.

Mark your calendars, call your friends and plan to spend October 24th with some of the finest blues musicians in the country. The Deep Blue Innovators Blues Festival will be an unforgettable day of music.

Tickets are $14 prior to the show and will be $17 at the door. Tickets can be purchased online now or at the following local businesses: Monmouth (Buchanan Center for the Arts, Bijou Pub, Daw Violins), Galesburg (Cherry Street Guitars, MusicMakers, Capitol Music), Macomb (Capitol Music) and Burlington (Weird Harolds). Doors will open at 2pm and the show will start at 2:30pm.

MonmouthBlues.com is an initiative to bring great live blues music to the Monmouth area, as well as highlight local talent already playing around the region. Concert information, local events and event tickets can all be found online at www.MonmouthBlues.com.

Kelly Rocks the High School

The Kelly Richey Band performed before the students of Monmouth-Roseville High School on Friday, March 13th. The students learned a bit about blues history and also had a chance to see how a master can shred on guitar.

The full story is here.

Kelly Richey in the News

With only a little over a day to go until the Kelly Richey Band hits the stage at the Rivoli, both regional papers are providing some exciting coverage of the event. Click the links below to read more.

Monmouth Review Atlas: Kelly Richey Band to perform Friday

Galesburg Register Mail: Richey brings blues to Maple City

Kelly Richey on IllinoisBlues.com

We’ve got our banner ad for the March 13 Kelly Richey Band show on the front page of the IllinoisBlues.com site:

IllinoisBlues.com

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