Eureka Springs’ Blues Festival Gives Back

Breathing good, I’m in the yard workin’ but I saw this and though I should pass it on; yes, folks, the following is a press release but ya know …
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Buy tickets now for the 2009 Eureka Springs Blues Weekend at www.EurekaSpringsBlues.org! This year’s Blues Weekend will be on May 28, 29, 30 & 31, and features a lineup that Blues Festival Guide describes as “a who’s who of the blues”.

Presented by the 1905 Basin Park Hotel, the 2009 Eureka Springs Blues Weekend will feature Guitar ShortyHubert Sumlin & the Buddy Flett Band and Joe Louis Walker headlining evening shows in The Auditorium May 28, 29 & 30 respectively. For acoustic guitar lovers, we have Delta Blues legend David “Honeyboy” Edwards headlining a special “Acoustic Afternoon at The Auditorium” with EG Kight and Mary Flower on Saturday, May 30th. Shows will also be held throughout the weekend in the 1905 Basin Park Hotel’s Barefoot Ballroom and Ozark Room, Basin Spring Park and at various venues around Eureka Springs.

This year’s Blues Weekend will be a fund-raiser for The Blues Foundation’s Handy Artist Relief Trust and Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. The HART Fund provides assistance to musicians in need, including acute, chronic & preventive medical & dental care, as well as funeral expenses. For more information, please visit www.Blues.org.

Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge is located seven miles south of Eureka Springs on Highway 23. It provides lifetime refuge to abandoned, abused, and neglected “Big Cats”, with emphasis on tigers, lions, leopards, and cougars. Natural habitats have been built over the past decade to allow the “Lions, Tigers & Bears” to live in more natural surroundings. For more information, please visit www.TurpentineCreek.org.

During last year’s Eureka Springs Blues Weekend, a pair of cubs were born at Turpentine Creek, one of which, “BB King,” is sponsored by long time supporters of the refuge and producers of Blues Weekend, Lori and Charles “Rags” Ragsdell. Also, Candye Kane could not perform during last year’s Blues Weekend due to illness, and The HART Fund helped pay her medical bills. These two events helped “seal the deal”, and Blues Weekend became one of the few blues festivals in America that dedicates 100 percent of all profits to charity.

Other headliners appearing in The Auditorium and the 1905 Basin Park Hotel Barefoot Ballroom and Ozark Room include EG KightMoreland & ArbuckleCandye Kane, Mary FlowerRJ MischoLee McBee & the ConfessorsDeanna Bogart and John Nemeth. Also, one-man band King Clarentz, International Blues Challenge winner JP Soars & the Red Hots and Ozarks Blues Society Blues Challenge winners Oreo Blue and Kory Montgomery & Isayah Warford will be opening acts.
Thursday evening at THE Auditorium will feature Guitar Shorty. Six-time Blues Music Award nominee Guitar Shorty started his professional career at the tender age of 16, playing for Ray Charles. He recorded his first single under the direction of Willie Dixon the next year, and went on to play with greats such as T-Bone Walker, Big Joe Turner, Little Richard and Sam Cooke. Since then, Guitar Shorty has headlined festivals around the world, and won the Contemporary Album Blues Music Award in 2007 for “We the People.”
Opening for Guitar Shorty will be International Blues Challenge winner JP Soars & the Red Hots. JP and his band bested over 100 bands in the 2009 International Blues Challenge, held by The Blues Foundation in Memphis, Tenn. JP also won a custom Gibson guitar and a Category 5 amp for the Albert King Award for Most Promising Blues Guitarist. JP was raised in Cedarville, near Fayetteville, and looks forward to returning “home” for his first Arkansas performance.
On Friday, Grammy nominee, nine-time Blues Music Award nominee, four-time BMA winner and Blues Hall of Fame member Hubert Sumlin will headline The Auditorium. Raised in Hughes, Ark., Sumlin first played in James Cotton’s band.  At the age of 18 Sumlin became Howlin’ Wolf’s guitarist. Sumlin’s licks are heard on hits like “Smokestack Lightnin'” and “Wang Dang Doodle”, and he has been cited by almost every major blues guitarist as one of their prime inspirations. Sumlin has been a featured artist in Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festivals and appeared in the films “10 Days Out,” “Lightning in a Bottle” and “Cadillac Records.” Eric Clapton and The Rolling Stone’s Keith Richard appeared on Sumlin’s “About Them Shoes,” another testament to his influence on today’s guitar greats. He will be backed by The Buddy Flett Band, who also appeared in “10 Days Out”, Kenny Wayne Shepherd’s road-trip documentary.
Opening for Sumlin will be Kory Montgomery & Isayah Warford, who represented the Ozarks Blues Society in the International Blues Challenge’s Solo/Duo competition. Also appearing is Oreo Blue, who represented the Ozarks Blues Society in the International Blues Challenge’s Band competition. Although Isayah Warford and Kory Montgomery were both raised around the Fayetteville, Ark., music scene, their music roots back to dirty delta blues. Warford’s intensely thoughtful guitar and vocal work combined with Kory’s unorthodox use of common instruments melds into a sound of their own. Widely regarded as one of our region’s top live music acts, Oreo Blue has thrilled audiences for over 17 years at clubs and festivals.
Also on Friday, BMA nominee John Nemeth and BMA winner Deanna Bogart will perform in the 1905 Basin Park Hotel’s Barefoot Ballroom. Nemeth has wowed crowds around the world with great vocals and harp playing. He simply blew away the crowd on the King Biscuit stage with Anson Funderburg & the Rockets after Sam Myers fell ill, some mighty large shoes to fill indeed. Junior Watson said Nemeth’s voice is a “national treasure” — high praise indeed! Nemeth is touring to promote his new Blind Pig CD “Love Me Tonight.”

Bogart is one of the most musically gifted ladies on the planet. A “quadruple threat”, she sings, plays piano and saxophone, and writes great songs. She has been featured recently as part of the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Revue, and was part of Bluesapalooza II, a USO-style tour of Iraq and Kuwait.


"Honeyboy" Edwards
"Honeyboy" Edwards plays the Columbus BLues Alliance's Traditional Blues Festival in 2008.

Saturday afternoon at The Auditorium features Grammy and Blues Music Award winner and two-time Blues Hall of Famer David “Honeyboy” Edwards. Honeyboy is the last of the original Mississippi Delta Blues guitarists. Unlike guitarists like Eric Clapton who say Robert Johnson influenced their music, Honeyboy actually played with Johnson! Honeyboy’s life has been intertwined with almost every major blues legend, including both Robert and Tommy Johnson, Charlie Patton, Big Joe Williams, Rice “Sonny Boy Williamson” Miller, Howlin’ Wolf, Peetie Wheatstraw, Sunnyland Slim, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Big Walter, Little Walter, Magic Sam and Muddy Waters! In 1942, Alan Lomax recorded Honeyboy in Clarksdale, Miss., for the Library of Congress. Since then, Honeyboy has recorded 14 albums and has appeared on 38 compilations, and has performed at hundreds of festivals around the world. Honeyboy also appeared as himself in “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.” Honeyboy, 93 years young, continues to perform regularly. In conjunction with The Blue Shoe Project, Honeyboy has conducted numerous “Blues in the Schools” workshops, helping teach tomorrow’s blues players about “The Blues”!
Opening for Honeyboy are EG Kight and Mary Flower. Both ladies are Blues Music Award nominees, and are known around the world for their guitar playing singing, and songwriting. Kight is eager to return to The Auditorium, where she opened for Saffire, The Uppity Blues Women in their last appearance in Eureka Springs. Astute listeners will also likely hear a song from last year’s headliner Koko Taylor’s set as part of her set, and for good reason — Kight has written several songs for The Queen of the Blues, and has become a close friend of Taylor’s over the years.
Flower is also eager to come to Eureka Springs, as she has family in the area. Her daughter Hannah is well know in the area as the “Little Bread” proprietor. Flower’s mastery of Piedmont-style blues guitar has twice earned her a top-three slot at the National Fingerpicking Contest, the only woman to have done so. Kight and Flower will also perform sets in the Basin Park Hotel Ozark Room on Friday and Saturday evenings respectively.
As a special treat, King Clarentz, an Ozarks-based musician who performs around the world will provide entertainment for our audience between the opening of the doors and the start of the show Saturday afternoon. A one-man band, King Clarentz wins the crowd over with his unique Delta blues that the late Kub Coda described as “beautifully raucous”!

Joe Louis Walker
Joe Louis Walker

Saturday evening will feature Multiple Grammy and Blues Music Award winner Joe Louis Walker. Walker has been nominated for an astounding 39 Blues Music Awards, winning three times. He is a true powerhouse guitar virtuoso, unique singer and prolific songwriter who has toured the world throughout his career and earned himself a legion of dedicated fans around the globe. He has recorded with the likes of B.B. King, James Cotton, Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal, Huey Lewis, Branford Marsalis, Steve Cropper, Shemekia Copeland and Ike Turner, with a discography that counts 19 solo albums, two live DVD’s, and countless compilations and guest appearances.
Opening for Joe Louis Walker will be RJ Mischo backed by Lee McBee & the Confessors. Mischo has performed around the world, thrilling audiences with his mastery of the harmonica. McBee is best known for his harp and vocal work with Mike Morgan and The Crawl, but shines on his own with one of the tightest bands in the Midwest, The Confessors. These two gifted front men will all take turns entertaining the audience, then will come together at the end for some “head cutting” in what can best be described as a “harp meltdown!”


Also appearing on Saturday in the Barefoot Ballroom will be Moreland & Arbuckle and BMA nominee Candye Kane. Moreland & Arbuckle have gained a large following with their Mississippi-style “Roots Blues” that are influenced by everyone from Little Walter to Led Zeppelin.  Their latest CD, “1861”, was designated a “Pick to Click” on Bluesville. Like Deanna Bogart, Moreland & Arbuckle entertained our troops in Iraq and Kuwait as part of Bluesapalooza II.


Kane has toured the world as part of RUF Records’ Blues Caravan, and is known for her outrageous costumes and high-energy shows. She played at the French Embassy in Rome for the President of Italy, and belted it out alongside Ray Charles at the Cognac Blues Festival. Kane “slayed ’em” at the Cannes Film Festival, “kept them enthralled” at New York Gay Pride and most recently, helped organize a 13-city tour of the Netherlands for special-needs children.


Also, internationally acclaimed blues photographer David Horwitz will exhibit his photography throughout Blues Weekend, and will conduct a performance photography workshop on Saturday morning. Horowitz’s award-winning photographs include over four decades of blues greats, everyone from Katie Webster to Albert Collins to Stevie Ray Vaughn to today’s rising stars. If you have attended any major blues festival, more than likely you have seen Horwitz shooting from the side of the stage.

On Sunday, there will be a Blues Gospel Brunch in Basin Park featuring Korey Mattox and LZ Love & Lightning Red, and music will continue in area clubs.


In addition to the headliner shows and photo exhibition, music will be played in Basin Spring Park and at area clubs and restaurants. Some of the many acts appearing in Basin Park and area clubs are The Ariels, Barbwire, Rich Berry, Zack Bramhall, Dasanni, Delta Highway, Eddie’s Blues TrainFat Elvis, Fatz 59, Jason Freeman, Scott Holt, Hosty Duo, Jug Band, Lightning RedLZ Love, Joe Pitts Band, Penelope & The Unusual Suspects, Adam PosnakJason Ricci, Rockin’ JakeShort Checkers, Patrick SweanyTable Rockers with special guest Lil’ SlimUnderground Blues Division, Underground Mafia with special guest Larry Emery, David Wiser and WSNB. More acts will be added to the club listings, so check our web site for more updates as we get confirmation.

The Eureka Springs Blues Weekend is produced by an all-volunteer force, and 100 percent of all profits from our shows go to The HART Fund and Turpentine Creek, internationally acclaimed 501(c)3 organizations. Sponsorships are available, and contributions are welcome!
A limited number of VIP packages include a pass to all shows at The Auditorium, the 1905 Basin Park Hotel’s Barefoot Ballroom and Ozark Room, a Eureka Springs Blues Lover’s bag full of all sorts of neat goodies, including a CD, bumper sticker, a limited edition T-Shirt & poster, and limo rides from your hotel to our venues and back throughout the weekend. Tickets are also available for individual shows, and in an effort to make this year’s Blues Weekend even more affordable, ticket prices are down around 30 percent from last year! As in past years, many of the clubs and restaurants of Eureka Springs have booked national, regional and local blues acts. And to help beat those recession blues, we once again have free music in Basin Park throughout the weekend.
For tickets, a complete schedule, more information or to volunteer, please visit www.EurekaSpringsBlues.com or call 888-855-7823. Lodging and ticket packages are available at many Eureka Springs area hotels. Tickets are also available at The Auditorium box office at 36 S. Main, Eureka Springs, Ark. 72632.