"The Piedmont Blues Preservation Society (PBPS) is excited to announce the line up of outstanding artists who will appear at the 29th Annual Carolina Blues Festival in association with YES! Weekly. The all-day event is being held under the big tent at Barber Park Amphitheater, 1500 Dans Road, Greensboro, NC, May 16, 2015. We are also developing associated blues events during the week before the Carolina Blues Festival and have many shows on schedule for the week of May 9 through May 16.
Shemekia Copeland - While only in her early 30s, two-time GRAMMY® nominee Shemekia Copeland is already a force to be reckoned with in the blues. She’s opened for the Rolling Stones, headlined at the Chicago Blues Festival and numerous festivals around the world, scored critics choice awards on both sides of the Atlantic (The New York Times and The Times of London), shared the stage with such luminaries as Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Mick Jagger, and Eric Clapton, and has even performed at the White House for President and Mrs. Obama. Heir to the rich tradition of soul-drenched divas like Ruth Brown, Etta James and Koko Taylor, the singer was presented with Taylor’s crown by her daughter, Cookie, on June 12, 2011 at the Chicago Blues Festival and given the honor of the new “Queen of the Blues” by official proclamation of the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois.
Copeland’s passion for singing, matched with her huge, blast-furnace voice, gives her music a timeless power and a heart-pounding urgency. Her music comes from deep within her soul and from the streets where she grew up, surrounded by the everyday sounds of the city – street performers, gospel singers, blasting radios, bands in local parks and so much more.
Devon Allman - The dirty blond hair is the same, the body posture is also the same, and there are touches in the voice that have a similar genetic connection, but Devon Allman has toiled long and hard to establish his own musical identity, separate from his mega-famous dad, Gregg Allman. In fact, Allman, who was raised by his mom (Shelly, not Cher) in Texas, took up the guitar on his own, and did not meet his father until he was 15 years old.
I was 15, and I sent him a really short letter saying, "Hey, it’s me. Here's where I'm at. I'm playing guitar. I got a phone call three days later," says Allman. Growing up with his mom, Devon was listening to anything on the radio he could find. Often it was the Rolling Stones or Jimi Hendrix. My earliest years and can remember listening to music at the age of four or five. Something would come on the radio and I would always ask my mom who it was. She would say, "That's John Lennon or that's Styx." One time Midnight Rider came on, and I asked her, "Mom who s that?” and she said “That’s your dad."
This young Allman did not come on the music scene riding the coattails of a famous parent. Allman has been living his own musical life for decades. After playing in local bands and working in Guitar Center in St. Louis, Allman formed Honey Tribe in 1999. One part blues, one part rock, and one part jam, Honey Tribe was named the 1999 Jam Band of the Year in St. Louis.
Larry McCray - Larry McCray is one of a handful of talented young blues performers leading the genre across boundaries and into the new century. McCray's savage blues-rock guitar and warm, soulful vocals have drawn attention worldwide.
McCray's hard work paid off when he became the first artist signed by Virgin Records' blues division - Pointblank Records. In 1990, they released his debut, "Ambition," which was well received by the U.S. and European press.
1993 saw the release of McCray's second album, Delta Hurricane, which was recorded in Memphis with the notoriously funky Uptown Horns. The guitarist's gut wrenching rendition of Warren Haynes' power ballad, "Soul Shine," opened many ears to McCray's talent and diversity.
In 1998, Born To Play The Blues moved the story of McCray's broadly appealing music forward another giant step. Bold, brawny, often dazzling guitar lines are matched with confident, soul-drenched vocals. Understated funk rhythms and crunchy rock riffs meet searing slow blues and booty-bumping shuffles.
Roy Roberts – Roy Roberts became hooked on music while growing up in a small town in Tennessee, listening to blues and R&B on radio stations WLAC out of Nashville. Jimmy Reed’s “Baby What You Want Me to Do” was the clincher and at the age of 14, Roy worked on a nearby farm to earn the money for his first guitar, a mail order Sears Silvertone.
When he turned 18, he moved to Greensboro, North Carolina to live with an uncle. There he had another inspiration to become a professional musician, when he and a carload of friends happened upon a nightclub where Jerry Butler was performing and making quite an impression on the ladies. Roy sharpened his skills while playing in makeshift bands until he landed a job with local hero Guitar Kimbers’ Untouchables. Before long, Roy was backing up major artists who came through town. One of those artists, Solomon Burke, took young Roy under his wing after letting him sit in as a bass player during a local gig. He was soon handling the guitar chores behind the future soul legend on tour. Roberts subsequently picked up touring gigs with such luminaries as Eddie Floyd, “Little” Stevie Wonder, Dee Clark, and Otis Redding, while fronting his own band, The Roy Roberts Experience, on the regional club scene and Southeastern beach town circuit.
Roy began to cut records in the mid-sixties, staying mostly behind the scenes as a session man. The tragic death of Otis Redding inspired him to step up to the microphone with a song dedicated to the late crooner. The record was released on Nina Simone’s NinaAndy label and backed by an ace studio band. Roy followed this successful effort with a string of 45’s that carried him well into the seventies. During the disco years, Roy turned his talents to country music, touring with the great O.B. McClinton and releasing a number of country records. After a brief hiatus from the music scene, he heard a young Robert Cray singing the blues on the radio. “That cat’s got my style,” he declared, and got the blues fever once again. Besides recording his own material on Rock House, Roberts has produced albums for the label by Priscilla Price, Lou Pride, Chick Willis, Skeeter Brandon, Floyd Miles, Eddie Floyd, and many more. Roy continues to record and produce records for his label, and tours the U.S. and Europe regularly. After receiving numerous awards, Roy has earned his place among the finest artists playing blues today.
The Bush League - The Bush League was founded on a front porch in 2007 not too far outside Richmond, Virginia, by dynamic vocalist JohnJason “JohnJay” Cecil and the heartbeat of the band, self-taught bassist Royce Folks. They are joined by Michael Burgess and Brad Moss on guitar with Wynton Davis keeping time on drums. The Bush League has sported many faces and played many different styles of music but the unifying force is the collective love of the Blues, particularly the soulful groovin’ Hill Country Blues of North Mississippi. Taking that Hill Country base and drawing upon individual influences of rock, soul, funk, and gospel The Bush League meshes those genres to create their own sound that pays homage to traditional blues but with a modern feel. Fat Possum Records’ “You Better Run: The Essential Junior Kimbrough” was the band’s first exposure to Hill Country Blues and heavily influenced The Bush League’s first original song, “Don’t Touch My Liquor”
Over the years, The Bush League has been playing the Blues and paying its dues on the 21st century version of the “Chitlin’ Circuit”, playing bars, restaurants, private parties, wineries, weddings, in front of the bathroom at the VA State Fair, and various festivals throughout the Mid-Atlantic. For 156 straight weekends, The Bush League played anywhere that would book them, seeing these gigs as opportunities to further hone and evolve their signature sound as well as introduce the world to a version of blues that many had never heard.
Peter May - Peter May, the son of a Dixieland-style, trumpet-blaring preacher and a hymn-singing, piano-playing teacher, plays original and classic blues, and gospel. Emphasis is on his North Carolina Piedmont style. Trips to the Delta literally and metaphorically, infuse his personal style with an edge of raw desolation. His classically trained hands mete out precise fingerstyle blues, while his voice belts out something between a holler and a howl.
The Piedmont Blues Preservation Society also announces partnership with The Healing Blues Project and the Interactive Resource Center.
In December of 2013 Social Practice Artist and assistant professor of art at Greensboro College Ted Efremoff received an email from Open Art Society soliciting proposals for an art installation in Greensboro NC storefronts based on the theme of “Blues”. These installations were meant to promote the annual Carolina Blues Festival held each May by the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society in Greensboro, NC.
In conceptualizing the project Efremoff became interested in identifying those people in Greensboro NC who were indeed experiencing the Blues. He became interested in pairing people experiencing homelessness, PTSD, abuse, and other trauma with local Blues Musicians who would work with them to create songs.
Efremoff pitched the idea to David Fox – a professor of music at Greensboro College and a prolific performer, composer, and bandleader with a wide range of experience in producing and promoting American Music. Efremoff and Fox created a proposal that was accepted by the Open Art Society. Fox reached out to the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society to both pitch the Healing Blues Project to us and see if we could assist in providing names of songwriting musicians that might be interested in donating their time and talents to the project. Fox began to contact this extensive network of Piedmont, NC musicians in order to create songs. Early in the process Fox and Efremoff decided to pair up “storytellers” with “songwriters” and to copyright the collaborative songs in both parties names. They determined to create a Healing Blues CD that would feature the songs.
Since it’s inception last Spring, The Healing Blues project has continued to proliferate. After creating 15 songs from the lives of storytellers experiencing homelessness, the musicians went into the studio to record and compile these works to CD. After paying the storyteller, all proceeds raised by the sale of the CDs and Healing Blues tee shirts have been donated to the Interactive Resource Center, now at well over $10,000. This project is planning to go into Volume 2 of The Healing Blues to continue the momentum of Volume 1 and to continue to bring awareness to the plight of the homeless population.
The Piedmont Blues Preservation Society has been involved with the Healing Blues project since last year’s cold February days. PBPS has been involved on several levels with the The Healing Blues project and are announcing our partnership with The Healing Blues and Interactive Resource Center as we are “Shining the light on homelessness and the work of the Interactive Resource Center through the Healing Blues Project.”
For more information about “POP: Downtown Greensboro”: http://bit.ly/1hEAPh8
The Healing Blues Project: http://thehealingblues.org
To listen to samples or Buy the CD: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/thehealingblues
Interactive Resource Center: http://gsodaycenter.org
For Carolina Blues Festival tickets or festival updates, go to: http://fest.piedmontblues.org
About the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society
From our love of music and our belief that music is best shared in a community, came the founding of the Piedmont Blues Preservation Society in 1985. Our non-profit organization works to cultivate and preserve the tradition of blues music. Our mission is to help the youth of our community discover the wonder and joy of music by raising awareness and providing music education to our community."
- A Press Release