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Local and State News

The 2019 St Louis Blues Festival WILL NOT Take Place in 2019

After long consideration of other events being held and affecting attendance in 2018, it has been decided to cancel this festival for a year to evaluate and look at other options of date, location and most importantly value of this event.
The festival organizers send out a huge thank you to all of our sponsors that have made this a reality, year after year. We have tried to bring in quality musical talent and I believe we have been successful in that regard.
The festival has been fully supported by the City of St Louis, we thank you for your partnership during the last 12 years.
This event requires a lot of of hard work, (nothing we are afraid of), and wouldn't have been possible without our friends and volunteers stepping up big to pitch in, that is a debt that can not be repaid.
We would also like to thank the media sources that have helped to advertise and get the word out to the public.
The festival organizers at the Gem Theater thanks everyone for your support and will continue in our best efforts of "Keeping The Blues Alive"

The Pumpstock Festival of American Roots Music will be held on Saturday, June 8th, from 2pm to 8pm at Bailey Park, East Lansing, Michigan.

Facebook Event is: https://www.facebook.com/events/950045551869780/

Performing this year are:
The Missy Raines Trio, David Luning of California, Jen Sygit & The Dirty Looks, Olivia Mainville and the Aquatic Troupe, The Matt Bliton Band. PLUS your favorite regional artists on the Local Stage


The best local food vendors, Michigan Shirt Works, a playground, children's arts and crafts, a ukulele petting zoo, and more.

Glitter tattoos and balloons by Rogo The Clown for kids of all ages. Bring chairs, blankets, your family, and your friends, and your dogs.

Outdoors at Bailey Park, 300 Bailey St, East Lansing. $10 suggested donation, pay at the gate (no advance tickets). Kids Free. ALL donations to the artists.

Capitol Area Blues Society Blues Brawl Winners

"Blues Brawl" Winners:
The WINNERS representing the Capitol Area Blues Society in Memphis 2020 are!
Band: *Stan Budzynski & 3rd Degree
Runner-up: Tomas Esparza Blues Band
Solo/Duo: *Steve Hilger
Peoples Choice Award: Dedfoot Band

West Michigan Blues Society International Blues Challenge Winners

1st Place Winner: Kathleen and Bridge Street Band

2nd Place Winner; Strapping Owls

3rd Place Winner; Joe Johnson and the Blues backs

National News and Beyond

Russ Gibb, Promoter Who Launched a Music Hall in Detroit, Dies

Russ Gibb, a former disc jockey and band promoter who launched a music hall in Detroit and kick-started a world-class Motor City music scene, died Tuesday April 30, 2019. He was 87.

Gibb's death was confirmed by former student Andy Fradkin, who was given power of attorney "quite a few years back."

Gibb, a local concert promoter and schoolteacher, started the Grande Ballroom in Detroit in 1967 and showcased live acts for budding talents like Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes, MC5, Iggy Pop and the Stooges and others.

He had gone west in 1966 and saw what promoter Bill Graham was doing at the Fillmore in San Francisco and decided he wanted the same for Detroit.

He did that and more, bringing acts that ended up influencing the rock genre. The Grande also hosted Cream, Howlin' Wolf, Iron Butterfly, Jeff Beck, Pink Floyd, Traffic, B.B. King and countless others.

"He was a real important, iconic person in Detroit culture in the '60s and '70s," said M.L. Liebler, an English professor at Wayne State University. "He will probably remembered as the guy who brought Detroit into the new music scene of its day because the Grande Ballroom was really the iconic music place in the middle of the country."

"He had the best underground radio voice anybody ever heard," he said. "He had a really eclectic taste."

Gibb also left his mark in the classroom. He taught communications at Dearborn High for 30 years, extending his teaching philosophy to legions of students over the decades. During his tenure, he sought to instruct in the fundamentals and let students take ownership of their creativity.

John Warren Geils Jr. Better Known as J. Geils, Dies at 71

John Warren Geils Jr., better known as J. Geils, the guitarist of the the J. Geils Band, was found dead in his home on Tuesday. He was 71. According to Police, “a preliminary investigation indicates that Geils died of natural causes,“ however foul play is not suspected at this time.”

The J. Geils Band released a slew of albums during the Seventies and early Eighties. With vocalist Peter Wolf at the helm, the band became best known for singles like “Centerfold,” “Love Stinks,” “Come Back” and “Freeze-Frame.”

Formed in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1967, the J. Geils Band released their self-titled debut in 1970. They broke through on the Billboard 200 in 1973 with their record Bloodshot, and honed a sound that blended blues rock, R&B, soul and pop. During the Seventies, the J. Geils Band would release eight studio albums and two live records while touring relentlessly. However, they wouldn’t hit their commercial peak until the beginning of the next decade.

In 1980, the J. Geils Band released Love Stinks, their first platinum-selling record, while the following year they notched a Number One with their 12th album Freeze-Frame. That album featured the group’s only chart-topping hit, “Centerfold,” while its title track also reached the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.

However, the band began to fall apart in the aftermath of its success. The  J. Geils Band officially split in 1985, but began to play the occasional reunion show in 1999. Geils recorded two blues albums with Magic Dick during the 1990s, then formed a jazz trio with guitarists Duke Robillard and Gerry Beaudoin. He released his first solo album, Jay Geils Plays Jazz!, in 2005.

In 2012, however, Geils officially quit the group and sued his band mates for conspiring to go on tour without him and unlawfully using the band’s trademarked name.

Outside of the J. Geils Band, Geils remained busy as a musician. In the mid-Nineties, he released two albums with his band Bluestime and during the 2000s, he returned to his jazz roots with three solo records.

In 2015, Geils was named to the Wall of Honor at his alma mater, Bernards High School, in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

Congratulations to the 2019 Blues Music Awards Winners

Journeys to the Heart of the Blues
- Joe Louis Walker, Bruce Katz,
& Giles Robson

Acoustic Artist
Rory Block

America's Child - Shemekia Copeland

B.B. King Entertainer
Michael Ledbetter

Welch-Ledbetter Connection

Best Emerging Artist Album
Free - Amanda Fish

Blues Rock Album
The Big Bad Blues – Billy F Gibbons

Blues Rock Artist
Eric Gales

Contemporary Blues Album
America's Child – Shemekia Copeland

Contemporary Blues Female Artist
Danielle Nicole

Contemporary Blues Male Artist
Kenny Neal

Instrumentalist - Bass
Danielle Nicole

Instrumentalist - Drums
Cedric Burnside

Instrumentalist - Guitar
Monster Mike Welch

Instrumentalist - Harmonica
Dennis Gruenling

Instrumentalist - Horn
Vanessa Collier

Pinetop Perkins Piano Player
Marcia Ball

Instrumentalist - Vocals
Michael Ledbetter

Song of the Year
"No Mercy In This Land"
Written By Ben Harper

Soul Blues Album
I'm Still Around – Johnny Rawls

Soul Blues Female Artist
Annika Chambers

Soul Blues Male Artist
Sugaray Rayford

Traditional Blues Album
The Blues is Alive and Well – Buddy Guy

Koko Taylor Award
(Traditional Blues Female Artist)
Ruthie Foster

Traditional Blues Male Artist
Nick Moss