The Bands

J. R. Clark and The All Star Blues Mob - 1:00PM

This act consists of national talents: Johnny B. Gayden - Alligator Records recording artist and bass player for "Albert Collins and the Ice Breakers”; Drummer Jerry "Bam Bam" Porter - toured with Buddy Guy for 14 years, Jerry has shared the stage with Eric Clapton, toured with Magic Slim and the Teardrops, Ronnie Baker Brooks, and currently fresh off touring with the late great James Cotton; Willie Styles on keys - Willie briefly toured with Robert Ward and is one of the premier and most sought out keyboard players in west Michigan.

J R Clark fronts the band on vocals and guitar. Melding a host influences such as, Michael Burks, Luther Allison, and Larry McCray, J R puts out a big sound of house rockin’ blues, soul and southern rock of his own! J R has also toured nationally with Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials. Performing at a host of festivals like South Bend Blues and Ribs festival at Coveleski Stadium, Kalamazoo Blues Festival, “Meet me on the Island” in South Bend , Lansing Chicken Wing Festival and many regional venues in IN, MI and IL. These guys are rolling and are always a crowd favorite. This high-energy act consisting of national and international touring artist’s is sure to put a smile on your face and a groove in your step!

The Scott Ellison Blues Band - 3:00PM

A talented singer-songwriter, guitarist, and blues-rocker, Scott Ellison was born on June13, 1954, in Tulsa, OK. By the '70s, Tulsa had become an unexpected hotbed of blues-based rock bands as proven by both Eric Clapton and Freddie King's backing bands hailing from the area. It was the perfect match for Ellison with his heavy guitar shredding blues style.

Ellison relocated to Los Angeles, CA by the mid-'80s, however, keeping his music career going by playing with The Box Tops. The Shirelles, Marvalettes, JJ Jackson, The Drifters, The Coasters, Gary "US" Bonds and Peaches & Herb. By the '90s he had formed his own blues band and opened for the likes of Joe Cocker, Roy Orbison, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Leon Russell, Bobby Bland and Buddy Guy.

Scott's biggest thrill as a performer was opening up for BB King, at the Performing Arts Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 2009. BB King called Scott out to play twice during his show.

In addition to solo records and playing with other artists, Ellison has also penned songs that have appeared in such hit TV shows as Sister Sister, Eye on L.A., and the soap opera Santa Barbara, as well as the soundtrack to the Ben Affleck motion picture Reindeer Games, Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Joan of Arcadia, Saving Grace, Smash and four songs on 2012’s hit TV show Justified on the FX Network.

Big James and The Chicago Playboys - 5:00PM

"Big James" Montgomery has played with Little Milton, Albert King, and Buddy Guy before becoming the trombonist and lead vocalist with the Chicago Playboys, the Windy City's premier R&B ensemble. Right Here Right Now provides ample servings of The Playboys unique-horn-driven sound, which is a little R&B, a little jazzy funk and whole lotta soul. It features eight original compositions as well as covers of Bobby Bland, Tyrone Davis, and the O'Jays, all highlighted by precisely-executed horn arrangements and dynamic, soulful musicianship.

Led by trombonist and vocalist Montgomery, the Chicago Playboys today are comprised of Charlie Kimble on saxophone, Kenny Anderson trumpet, Joe Blocker keyboards, Mike Wheeler guitar and vocals, Larry Williams bass and Cleo Cole drums. -Peter "Cornbread" Cohen

Mississippi Heat - 7:00PM

Mississippi Heat’s name is a reflection of Pierre’s reverence for Mississippi’s blues culture and music. The band’s conviction is that there is no deeper music than Delta-inspired blues to express what lies in everyone’s soul. They have received world-wide critical acclaim, including from Living Blues Magazine: “MISSISSIPPI HEAT delivers its traditional urban blues with a freshness, energy and competence that makes them a treasure on today’s Chicago scene.”

Mississippi Heat is known internationally for their passionate blues delivery. Overseas and national touring have been an integral part of their work for decades. The band has appeared at many world-famous festivals including many in the US (like the Pocono’s and the Chicago Blues Festivals), Scandinavia, Germany, France, Italy, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Canada, Tunisia, Finland, Venezuela and in Mexico, among many others. Besides a scheduled European tour for 2018, they will also soon perform in Dubai.

The Legendary John Primer - 9:00PM

As the title of his critically acclaimed Atlantic Records CD suggests, Grammy Award and Blues Music Award Nominee, John Primer is truly “The Real Deal.” At 8 years old, John borrowed his first guitar and started to strum. Before that he played a homemade guitar built on the wall of the house with a broom wire, 2 nails, and 2 rocks to make it tight. With the sounds of Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, Little Milton, Elmore James, BB & Albert King reverberating through his Grandmother Laura Nell’s tube radio, John was instantly hooked. Early inspiration came from his family, steeped in spiritual, gospel, blues and R&B tradition. As a young boy John’s mother knew he would be a singer, “he came out singing” she would say. John first appeared on stage at the local Baptist church, in his hometown of Camden Mississippi.

At the age of eighteen, feeling restless and in search of further audiences, John followed the path of his mentors and migrated to Chicago in the fall of 1963. He quickly found work in an era when Chicago’s modern electric Blues sounds were first taking shape. Forming his first band, The Maintainers in 1964, John and his old Harmony guitar rocked such West Side clubs as, The Place, The Bow Tie, and Lover’s Lounge. By 1968 John had left The Maintainers when the opportunity arose to front the Soul and R&B group The Brotherhood. John’s success would lead him in 1974 to replace John Watkins in the house band at the world famous Theresa’s Lounge on the South Side of Chicago. Over the course of the next 7 years, John would play with such originators as Sammy Lawhorn, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, and Lonnie Brooks, all innovators sculpting the sound of Chicago Blues.

In 1979, master songwriter and bassist Willie Dixon persuaded him to join his band The Chicago All Stars. Another blues master who believed in John Primer was none other than the “Hoochie Coochie Man” himself, Muddy Waters. Muddy recruited John not only as a guitarist, but also as an opening act and bandleader. Fresh off the heels of his success with the Muddy Waters Band, John signed on with the legendary Magic Slim. In 1981 John began playing at the Legendary Checkerboard Lounge on the South-Side of Chicago. He was the house bandleader, holding open jam nights and teaching the next generation how to play the Blues until the original nightclub closed its doors in 2001.

But John’s days as a sideman were numbered, and in 1995 the veteran blues man released his major label debut “The Real Deal”, on Atlantic Records. Deciding to make it out on his own, he began touring extensively in support of his twelve solo albums to date. John formed his independent record label, Blues House Productions in 2008. John is a Living Legend and has been giving the Lifetime Achievement Award many times. He is a Grammy Nominated Blues Artist and is one of the last Traditional Blues Artists with original Mississippi roots. He was taught by our founding father’s of the Blues, the old way (some say, “the right way”). We need to cherish his history and celebrate his amazing music!