Local, Regional and Cotton Patch Soul Blues

Celebrating the best Blues of our Community
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Blues Fest Lineup

Candy Foster and Shades of Blue - CU's own Big Band Blues Revue - Facebook
Robert Kimbrough Sr. - Junior Kimbrough's youngest son, Cotton Patch Soul Blues from Mississippi - Facebook
Mary Jo Curry - Rockin' Blues featuring Mary Jo's powerful vocals, from Springfield, IL - Facebook
The Blues Deacons - With local legends Jeff Kerr & Griz Stevens - Blues Deacons Website
The Keith Harden Band - Reunion of Keith, Billy & Andy - Keith's Facebook
The Painkillers Blues Band - Traditional Blues - Facebook
Melvin Knight & Amber Sky - Young local R&B group - Facebook

We're thrilled the BluesCENTRAL Dancers will be involved, they'll be offering free dance lessons at various times throughout the day. We'll also have acoustic performers at the Fest!

Melvin Knight and Amber Sky - Inspired by the sounds of the 60’s, Melvin Knight is a Soul/R&B singer from Champaign Urbana backed by Elijah Harris, Kurt Shelby, and James Russel Simms.

They'll also be performing at The Pygmalion Festival on September 29th.

The Painkillers Blues Band - The Painkillers play a lively mix that rolls between traditional and Chicago Blues to Swamp Blues, a hint of R&B, and lots of down home Southern Blues. The six-piece band includes male and female vocalists, two guitars, a harmonica, bass and drums that blend together nicely to serve up a range of covers and original tunes. Dawn Clark’s vocals can be sweet and sassy as she provides some of the best female vocals around! This band’s style of the Blues will keep your feet tappin’ and your body movin’ ... so don’t forget your dancin’ shoes!

[Keith Harden Band classic pic]

Keith Harden Band - Keith is a widely traveled blues-folk-americana-etc guitarist-singer. He plays dobro, harmonica, & blues mandolin.

Born between Chicago and the Mississippi delta at the crossroads of the Illinois Central and Wabash railroads this Illinois native has performed for many years in the midwest, opening shows for performers including Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Dr. John, Delbert McClinton and many others.

His discography includes The Bad Dog Blues Sessions, performed live; Sky Songs, recorded in 2013 and featured locally on WEFT; and his latest, Keith Harden Band Live at the Alley Cat Reunion.

Located in Nashville, Keith returns to the area every year for special events like Keithmas and The Keith Harden Band Reunion.

The Blues Deacons with Jeff Kerr and Griz Stevens - The Blues Deacons have been a mainstay of the downstate Illinois blues scene since forming in 1990.

Billy Galt (guitar/vocals) has made blues his profession since 1980. Galt has honed his skills backing blues luminaries such as Homesick James, Sonny Boy Williamson Jr., Maxwell Street Jimmy, and Shirley King (daughter of the legendary B.B. King).

Andy Burnett (drums) brings energy, a driving beat, and a fresh look to the Deacons lineup.

Beau "Blind Dog" Renshaw (bass) has had many years of classical cello training. He lays down sturdy bass lines and also adds some real spice to the mix. His excellent stage presence adds a lot to the Deacons experience.

Together, these three veteran musicians form a tight blues machine while retaining a raw, soulful edge.

For this performance they'll be joined by two local favorites: Jeff Kerr and Griz Stevens.

Mary Jo Curry - Mary Jo Curry's professional career started as lead singer in a rock cover band after training in theater and voice, morphed into acting in a major touring troupe and came to rest when she fell in love with the blues. She has received "Best Blues Artist" in the Kankakee Area Music Awards and had her self-titled CD in the Blues Foundation's Best Self Produced CD Compettion. Legendary, BMA nominated, international recording artist, James Armstrong, said that “Mary Jo has a voice, confidence, and stage presence that is hard to find these days.”

Mary Jo is joined onstage by her husband, Michael Rapier, who plays lead guitar, acts as band leader, and shares in the songwriting duties. The last 5 years have been the incubator to allow Mary Jo to shape her sound and her direction as a blues performer, and she is now ready to bring her blues to the world.

Mary Jo is joined onstage by her husband, Michael Rapier, who plays lead guitar, acts as band leader, and shares in the songwriting duties. The last 5 years have been the incubator to allow Mary Jo to shape her sound and her direction as a blues performer, and she is now ready to bring her blues to the world.

Robert Kimbrough Sr. Blues Connection - Robert Kimbrough Sr.’s musical journey started at an early age and took him to Aurora, Illinois where he lived and played for a few years. He then returned to Holly Springs, MS to play with his dad and focus on his music, as well tour with Junior in 1996. Shortly after, he wrote all the tracks for his first release, Willey Woot. Robert became focused solely on sharing his families unique style of cotton patch soul blues under his new moniker – Blues Connection – as one of the hardest working guys in the blues business.

Robert Kinmrough Sr. is featured in this Episode II of Moonshine and Mojo Hands about 20 minutes into the episode.

[Candy Foster promo pic]

Candy Foster and Shades of Blue - Candy Foster has been performing classic rhythm and blues throughout the midwest for more than 55 years. Based in Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, Candy is well-known as one of the hardest working blues singers in the area. His strong vocals and high energy style always draws interactive enthusiasm from his audience.

Over the years, Candy has appeared with such blues greats as B.B. King, Tyrone Davis, Artie Blues Boy White, Lonnie Brooks, Etta James, Big Daddy Kinsey, KoKo Taylor, Junior Wells, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Little Milton, Eddie Shaw, Son Seals, Bobby Blue Bland, and Bobby Rush. Backed by seasoned professionals and performing the tight arrangements of the Shades of Blue, Candy provides audiences with "pure" rhythm and blues grooves that first originated from Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, and Memphis (Delta) areas.

Currently Candy is raising money for a scholarship at Parkland College and spreading his love of music and performing to the next generation.

Acoustic Stage - Featuring

Reverend Robert - Website
Joe Asselin
Blues, Too! featuring Doug Schroer with special guests Jeff Kerr and Casey Long

Visit our Facebook Event for updated information.