King Solomon Hicks - https://kingsolomonhicks.com
King Solomon Hicks grew up in Harlem “around a lot of great musicians.” That certainly shows on HARLEM, an 11-song salute to those roots — and how the 24-year-old guitarist and singer has turned them into his own fierce and distinctive style over the years.
Hicks has been steeped in music for as long as he can remember. Harlem, he says, “is not like New Orleans, where music is 24 hours a day — but it’s close.” His father and mother played music at home constantly. His mother also took him, as a youth, to local nightspots such as the Lennox Lounge, Saint Nick’s and the Cotton Club, where Hicks witnessed performances that made a significant impact on his outlet and ambitions. “When you’re around good musicians, it gives you that spark — ‘I want to do what you do. I want to hold my own,'” says Hicks, who started playing guitar when he was six years old. “But being around those types of musicians also taught me to NOT be the fastest guitar player. I wanted to be the one who knew the most riffs and drew on a lot of knowledge so I could play anything, and with anyone.”
The self-described “kid in school that had a guitar on his back, interrupting all the classes,” Hicks was on stage at the Cotton Club when he was 13, and during high school as part of a 15-piece band playing there three nights a week. “The owner saw I was serious and genuinely loved the music,” Hicks recalls. He also learned a great deal from playing rhythm guitar at first, gradually developing his lead and soloing skills at gigs as well as at private parties and open jams — the latter of which provided a kind of master class for the developing artists.
“It’s a lot of hard work and responsibility,” Hicks notes. “The older I get, it’s not just playing music just for me anymore. It’s playing music for people to feel good and enjoy themselves, maybe take their minds off their problems.”
“This is like a first impression,” he says of HARLEM. “I want people to know me as a musician first. I’m trying to get my roots planted with the blues fans, and later I’ll cross over into some different worlds. There’s a lot I want to do — I’m patient, but at the same time I’m really ready for people to hear my music. Can’t wait, actually…”
GA-20 - https://ga20band.com/
GA-20 clearly is on to something big. It’s a movement, a new traditional blues revival. The dynamic, throwback blues trio are disciples of the place where traditional blues, country and rock ‘n’ roll intersect. “We make records that we would want to listen to,” says guitarist Matt Stubbs. “It’s our take on the song-based traditional electric blues we love.” Stubbs, guitarist/vocalist Pat Faherty, and drummer Tim Carman have been at the forefront of this traditional blues revival since they first formed in 2018. It’s no wonder they skyrocketed to the top of the Billboard Blues Chart.
According to Stubbs, “Since we started the band we’ve focused on the story, the melody, and on creating a mood. Playing live as much as we do, we’re finding more and more that people are discovering how cool it all is. Traditional country, soul and funk music have all had these massive recent revivals, but traditional blues so far has not.” With their new Colemine album, Crackdown, and an intensive tour schedule, that’s all about to change.
On Crackdown, GA-20’s third full-length release, the band creates an unvarnished, ramshackle blues that is at once traditional and refreshingly modern. Expanding on their previous releases (2019’s Lonely Soul and 2021’s Try It…You Might Like It! GA-20 Does Hound Dog Taylor) GA-20 finds inspiration on the edges of the genre, where early electric blues first converged with country and rock ‘n’ roll. The album’s nine original songs include the loping, Louisiana-flavored Dry Run, the dirty, and bare-bones Easy On The Eyes and the melodic, garage-tinged Fairweather Friend. With tight, propulsive performances and a brevity and punk energy reminiscent of The Ramones, Crackdown is rowdy and fun, filled with instantly memorable, and well-crafted songs.
Ivy Ford -https://www.ivyfordmusic.com/
Some of the best “new” blues players in Chicago are now women. You can add Ivy Ford and her band near the top of that list. Her soulful voice matches her abilities on the guitar. Raised in Waukegan, Ford’s self-released albums Harvesting My Roots show she’s become one of the cornerstones of the new crop of Chicago-based blues artists.
The label “child prodigy” is often overused. But when it comes to Ivy Ford, the description rings true. Raised in north suburban Waukegan, IL, Ivy learned to play music at an early age. She is mostly self-taught on piano, alto saxophone, drums, bass and guitar. At age 13, she began performing live with The Real Deal. In 2012, at age 19, she joined a local blues band which evolved into Ivy Ford and the Cadillacs.
Once she was old enough, Miss Ford began to perform with her mentor, blues guitar hero and Chicago Blues Hall of Fame inductee, J.B. Ritchie. She has since shared the stage with Toronzo Cannon, Tom Holland, Joe Moss and more. After receiving exposure by playing in Chicagoland’s blues clubs, Ivy’s stand-out talent earned her many prestigious bookings including opening for Buddy Guy at his club Legends. She also represented the Crossroads Blues Society (based in Rockford, IL) at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in February 2019. Ivy’s riveting, high energy performance won her a spot in the finals!
Her star really began to rise after that -- she landed a slot at Chicago Blues Fest in June 2019 and released her critically acclaimed CD Harvesting My Roots. She followed with a unique concept album Club 27, an homage to legendary musicians who left us too soon.
Gabe Stillman - https://www.gabestillman.com/
“One of the most promising young blues talents on the scene today. He’s a fine songwriter, excellent guitarist and strong singer, plus he puts on an exciting, energized show. His talent has grown by leaps and bounds over the last couple years. Don’t miss him!” - Bruce Iglauer, Founder and President, Alligator Records.
“Gabe is somebody who has it all. His songs move me, he has a way with words. He is an amazing singer, a great songwriter and a wonderful musician.” - Anson Funderburgh, Producer
“…Gabe Stillman with this release [Just Say the Word], has put himself up front in any discussion about Best Bluesman of 2021. He checks all my boxes: tone, energy, pacing, lyricism, melody, and an ear for good material to cover.” - Blues Music Magazine, M.E.Travaglini
The Gabe Stillman Band hits the stage in high gear and only goes higher as they embrace all corners of American Roots Music with their impromptu selection of original gems and carefully chosen covers.
Since landing in the final 8 of the 35th Annual International Blues Challenge in Memphis TN, and further honored as the recipient of the esteemed Gibson Guitar Award, Gabe and his band have been focused on expanding their footprint on a national and international level.
Based in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Gabe formed the band in 2015, shortly after graduating from Boston’s Berklee College of Music.
Tullie Brae - https://tulliebrae.com/
The soulful Blues singer and multi-instrumentalist credits her musical gift to Gospel music like so many great soul singers before her. Tullie's musical journey began singing in church where her Daddy was a preacher and her Mom was a vocalist and musician . Tullie grew up near the Louisiana cotton fields and wetlands of the Blues, cutting her teeth in a type of church where you could hear soul-shaking music seeping through the walls before you entered the doors. Early on she began writing original material while also learning to play various instruments, she also assumed the role of choir director which led to recording and touring professionally, singing harmony and lead with Gospel groups.
While touring and performing, Tullie was introduced to the many sounds of different genres of music. Her Gospel roots naturally segued into the Blues where you can still hear and feel the hints of Soul along with her grittiness of Rock. Tullie is most comfortable on stage performing in her own unique style, sharing her heart & soul to each audience through her love of music.
Tullie is signed to Endless Blues Records where you can find her latest self-penned album. Tullie is also endorsed by Hammond, touring with her favorite instrument which is the lightweight and slim SK1 Hammond. Her shows and original material ranges from Delta Blues to Rock infused Contemporary Blues music that tells the stories of love, happiness, heartbreak, pain and life experiences. She has powerful vocals, impeccable stage presence and engages with her audience from the time she steps on stage until the last note is played. Her shows are pure energy, and at the same time, raw emotion. Tullie has headlined several Blues festivals as well as shared the stage with B.B. King, Taj Mahal, Paul Thorn, Bonnie Raitt, Tab Benoit, Jimmy Thackery, Coco Montoya, Ruthie Foster, Jimbo Mathus, Carolyn Wonderland, Cedric Burnside, Samantha Fish, Leo Bud Welch, Jimmy "Duck" Holmes, Henry "Gip" Gipson, Big George Brock among many other talented artists.
The Mojo Blues Cats - https://mojobluescats.com/
The late great B.B.King once said, "People all over the world have problems, and as long as people have problems the Blues can never die". So, if you've got the Blues, it's not a bad thing, it just means you feel deeply about what you're going through...These cats will sooth your soul with some good music and make it all better.
If you love the blues, you will love these cats. While laying down cool
blues from some of the greats, some of their original stuff and a variety of other music, the MoJo Blues Cats will have you meowing for more.
Johnny Fink & the Intrusion - https://www.johnnyfink.com/
Johnny Fink and The Intrusion used to be known as the “Best Kept Secret in the Midwest Blues Scene” among local blues and classic rock enthusiasts.
That was until the band placed in the top 8 (in the world) at the 2017 IBC Finals.
The secret is definitely out....
Johnny is the most winning artist of the Cincinnati Blues Society Challenge. He has won twice as a band, twice as a solo artist, and once for self produced cd. That cd entitled JFI, won best cd for the Cincinnati Blues Society, reached top 10 in the International Blues Challenge, and earned top 25 on Living Blues album charts.
Johnny’s most recently released (January 2022) an acoustic solo blues cd that is already getting airplay worldwide.
If you ever happen to ask someone who’s seen the band play, you’ll likely hear of true musicianship and one helluva good time.
The band was formed in the winter of ’92 originally going with the name “The Blue Intrusions” with real-life guitar hero Johnny Fink pulling together a powerful 4-piece lineup of talented pro players through a diverse blues spectrum. They covered a wide range of blues, tapping the soul of the music from well know legendary blues artists. Jammin’ everything from the Allman Brothers to Buddy Guy, then swinging from Albert Collins to Lonnie Mack.
The Tempted Souls Band - https://temptedsouls.com/home
Formed by guitarist Mark Bubash, Tempted Souls have been around the Cincinnati music scene since 2004.
Tempted Souls brings together a wide range of backgrounds and talents to play an eclectic blend of soul, rock, classic R&B, blues, and standards with a blues feel. The members of Tempted Souls pride themselves on performing songs that are somewhat obscure or eclectic, but still approachable and danceable.
Doug Hart Band - https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100076083436655
Over the last 15 years..."The Doug Hart Band" has been a major force in the southwest Ohio blues scene. Doug constantly strives to put forth the best product and deliver the best show possible. The band incorporates free form, yet controlled versions of many blues standards along with the blending of Doug’s blues and rock influences to form creative original compositions. They never fail to amaze their audience with the soul and passion of their performance… The Doug Hart Band will definitely leave you wanting more.
The Lady Joya Band - https://www.ladyjoyaband.com/
The Lady Joya Band is the latest project for Cincinnati favorite Lady Joya. Backed by five seasoned musicians, she delivers R&B favorites with the style and sizzle. Her exuberant stage presence and powerful, soulful voice continue to delight audiences with her interpretations of the great R&B tunes from the likes of Etta James, Nina Simone, Koko Taylor and many others. To see Lady Joya perform is to know that joy is not only part of her name, it’s who she is.
Misterman & the Mojo Band - https://www.mistermanandthemojoband.com/
Misterman and the Mojo Band features Bob Herrmann alongside of some of Cincy's finest musicians. These professionals have been playing for many years, performing at casinos, clubs, parties, weddings, festivals and corporate events. This talented and popular group perform regularly in the Greater Cincinnati area and enjoys a large fan base. These versatile performers play blues in an exciting upbeat style that audiences love.
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