Eric Gales – Eric Gales grew up in a musical family with four brothers, two of them who learned to play the guitar upside down and left handed in the same fashion that Eric does. Eric’s brother Eugene Gales played bass in the Eric Gales Band and his brother Little Jimmy King had a thriving career as a blues artist himself before his untimely death in 2002. Eric released his first record in 1991 at the young age of 16 for Elektra Records to an amazing response from the media and music fans around the globe. Guitar World Magazine Reader’s Poll named Eric “Best New Talent,” in 1991. After recording a second record for Elektra, all three brothers teamed up in 1996 as The Gales Brothers to record “Left Hand Brand,” which was recorded for the House of Blues label. Through the years, it has not been unusual to look out in the audience and see the likes of Carlos Santana, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, B. B. King, or Eric Clapton looking on in amazement. Word spread quickly about Eric as he was taking his God-given talents to places that no one else had ever been. Since the turn of the century, Eric has recorded numerous records for multiple record labels as well as appearing as a guest on many others. As both an African-American left-handed guitarist of extraordinary ability and an expressive vocalist, it is natural for people to compare Eric to Hendrix but Eric has developed a unique hybrid of blues/rock that draws from influences as diverse as Albert King, Eric Johnson, Carlos Santana. With a unique blend of rock, funk, and blues, Eric Gales stands head and shoulders above other guitarists in his genre and is out to blow your mind and expand your musical horizons!
The road can be tough on musicians, and has certainly treated Eric no differently than others. Over the years he has had his ups and downs and battled some of his own demons. As 2016 comes to an end and 2017 comes into play, Eric is clean and sober and his clarity and focus to be the very best he can be is at an all time high! He is fully focused on his music, his wife and his sobriety. There has never been a better time to see Eric Gales LIVE!!!
Brandon Santini – There are many different opinions as to what the future of the blues harmonica will be. Memphis vocalist and harmonica player Brandon Santini is undeniably a worthy player to keep an eye on as the latest surge of young blues artists leave their footprint in blues history. His name is worthy of conversations that include James Cotton, Kim Wilson, Dennis Gruenling, Charlie Musselwhite and other frontline harmonica players by combining his love and respect for traditional blues with a present, colorful style of playing that is often compared to James Cotton or Paul Butterfield. Raised in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, Brandon purchased his first harmonica in 1997 at the age of fifteen when his mother took him to the local music store upon his request. He founded the Blues Music Award nominated band Delta Highway in 2003 and relocated to Memphis where he absorbed the sounds and culture of the Delta and North Mississippi Hill Country, honing his craft night after night, sweating it out in local Beale Street clubs just like Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, and B.B. King did decades before him.
Live & Extended! is Brandon’s third album released in January 2015 by VizzTone Label Group. The scene is Quebec’s upscale concert venue, le Petit Impérial, on a Sunday night in July, in the middle of the exuberant Festival D’été de Quebec. The packed house responds quickly as Brandon Santini and his tight touring band hit the stage with all the raw blues power and impact of the 1970s-era Paul Butterfield or James Cotton Blues Band. The band feels the energy and responds with over an hour of the hard-hitting harmonica-driven blues that’s been causing fans and critics alike to tap Santini as one of the most quickly-rising blues stars of his generation.
For Brandon Santini, “It’s all about the vibe of your surroundings. With a great live audience fueling you it’s a lot more inspiring and allows you to give more to the audience.” He has steadily built his fan base with two previous albums, and tours regularly. His A-Team road band includes Timo Arthur on guitar and backing vocals, Nick Hern on bass and backing vocals, and Chad Wirl on drums.
Big Ron Hunter – Ron is called the world’s happiest Bluesman. He owns a voice that gives people chills. It’s the kind of voice that carries warmth and tenderness, a voice that is unmistakably his own and embodies everything that’s raw, pure and beautiful about the blues.
Ron Hunter was born in Winston-Salem, NC. His father, who was a sharecropper, taught Ron how to sing and play the guitar at a young age. Mentored by the legendary Guitar Gabriel and versed in R&B, Rock & the Blues of BB King, Ron plays both electric and acoustic guitars in dramatically different styles. From Gabe’s advice, Hunter developed his unique sound all while raising a family and working a day job. As a maintenance man, you could find Ron locked up in his closet-sized office, plucking away at his guitar and pouring out the blues.
Hunter just released his second album, the Great Unknown, which, aside from receiving praise in the Living Blues magazine, proves his mastery of the blues and folk niches.
Gate City Divas – Take eight veteran professional multi-instrumental playing female vocalists and combine that with a heart for their community and you have the vision of producer, Shiela Klinefelter for the Gate City Divas project. With a deep bench of talent, a wide range of influences, and a strong songwriting pool, this original project has a rich R&B, funk and blues flavor. The Gate City Divas are Goin’ To Town.
Shiela Klinefelter (Guitar, Bass, Vocals, Songwriter)
Originally from Detroit Michigan, this project producer attributes her love of blues, funk and jazz to her influences: husband Big Bump, Jimmy Vaughan, Albert Collins, B.B. King, and Steady Rollin Bob Margolin to name a few favorites. Her smooth guitar and smoky vocals add a unique sound to the Diva project. Shiela is also a recipient of the Piedmont Blues Preservsation Society’s prestigious Keepin’The Blues Alive Award. Performing over the last 22 years with The Ladies Auxiliary, Big Bump & the Stun Gunz, and most recently touring with the national act Smokin’Joe Kubek and Bnois King. Sadly Smokin’ Joe passed away in October of this year but not before they recorded a CD, Fat Man’s Shine Parlor for Blind Pig Records. Release date: Jan. 2015.
Kristy Jackson (keyboards, vocals, songwriter)
BMI award winning singer/songwriter, Kristy Jackson, has had singles with artists on Giant, MCA, Curb and Universal including 2 Grammy winning artists. Her music has been featured in films by Disney, Universal and Endemol Productions. As an artist herself (keyboards and vocals), she had the #1 most requested song on the largest radio stations in New York and other major markets after 9/11, “Little Did She Know (She’d Kissed A Hero)”. She wrote 10 out of the 15 Gate City Divas songs.
Melva Houston (vocals)
Since the American jazz, blues and gospel singer Melva Houston made her debut in Germany in 1996, she has been a regular guest in jazz clubs and at jazz festivals each year. Meanwhile Melva Houston is not just known only by insiders on the Jazz and Gospel scene in Germany but more and more in neighbor countries like Switzerland, the Netherlands and Spain. The demand for her shows have increased tremendously and out of a 30 year touring career she’s spent the last 17 year touring in Europe. Melva’s signature jazz & blues sound combined with a band consisting of high-class jazz musicians keeps Melva touring worldwide every year.
Lauren Myers (Drums, Vocals, Guitar, Trombone)
Lauren is one of the areas’ most charismaticn and versatile performers. She has been dedicated to writing and performing blues, rock and her original music over the last 25 years in the Triad area. She has played with The Ladies Auxiliary, Allison King, and other projects.
Allison King (vocals, guitar, songwriter)
While living in Los Angeles, Allison quickly became one of the most sought after session vocalists. Most likely you’ve heard her voice on commercial work and didn’t know it. Performing in the Triad area for the last 25 years, she was a long standing member of Dr.Brown’s Code Blue Revue until forming her own band The Allison King Band 15 years ago. Allison is a well known and respected member of the local music scene.
Virginia Masius (bass, vocals)
Virginia started playing bass in the suburbs of Chicago when she was 10 years old. She moved to North Carolina in 1982, and while in high school played with the orchestra at East Carolina University. In 1987, she transferred to UNC School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, earning a a Bachelor’s Degree in Music.
She currently plays with the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra in their bass section, and plays Assistant Principal Bass in Salisbury. She also plays with Floydz Circle Band, a blues/rock band based in Rockingham County, and the Ladies Auxiliary, a blues/funk band based in Greensboro.
Julie Bean (vocals, guitar)
Julie is a founding member of the The Ladies Auxiliary. Her dedication to and love for the Blues over the last 22 years shows in every performance. She has a funky guitar style and hot vocals that rival the likes of Bonnie Raitt, Susan Tedeshi, Etta James, Aretha Franklin, and Janis Joplin all rolled into one. Her soulful style and raw appeal is palpable.
Robin Doby (vocalist, songwriter)
A regular on the festival stages and known for her high energy funk performances, Robin fronts her band, Doby, and has shared the stage with ?uestlove, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, The New Mastersounds, DJ Logic, Lake Street Dive, Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band, Big Something, The Broadcast, and Who’s Bad. Robin’s big voice is commanding.
Luxuriant Sedans – The Luxuriant Sedans hail from the fertile musical stomping grounds of the North Carolina Piedmont. The band’s five members – Mike “Wezo” Wesolowski (vocals, harp); Ed Bumgardner (bass, vocals); Rob Slater (guitar); Gino “Woo Funk” Grandinetti (guitar) and Bob Tarleton (drums) – are veteran musicians with experience in myriad musical genres, from alternative music to country-rock to jazz, vintage soul and rock ‘n’ roll in all its forms and guises. The common ground for their backgrounds is blues, but The Luxuriant Sedans is no typical fedora-wearing, licks-off-of-records blues band. Rather, the band’s deep musical versatility takes the blue soul in its music and adds an element of rock ‘n’ roll energy that celebrates taste and individuality.
Like its namesake, The Luxuriant Sedans is the prestigious sum of quality parts. For the past decade, Mike “Wezo” Wesolowski has been toasted as the charismatic founder, singer and harp player of Blues World Order, a long-running North Carolina blues band. His harp style reflects traces of such masters as Paul Butterfield, Junior Wells and James Cotton but never stoops to imitation. Wezo’s dedication to creating his own sound and approach has made him one of the most distinctive and highly regarded harp players in the Southeast. He appears on many albums – including Blues World Order’s The Big Bam – and has performed with such blues icons as Bob Margolin, Cyril Lance and Tom Principato.
Bassist Ed Bumgardner was still in his teens when he began performing with some of the greatest names in soul music and rock ‘n’ roll. Through the years, his energized deep-groove playing enabled him to support Chuck Berry, Sam and Dave, Bo Diddley, Jr. Walker, Wilson Pickett, Percy Sledge, Ben E. King, Bobby Keys and Henry Butler, among others. He played original rock music and recorded with Fast Annie, MGB, and The Allisons, and led his own soul band, the popular Liquorhouse Soul Revue, for 10 years; musicians from that band have gone on to work with Wynton Marsalis and Prince, among others.
Guitarists Rob Slater (Sneakers, Peter May & The Rough Band, The MoFo’s) and Gino Grandinetti (The Allisons, The Honeymooners) bring a wealth of stylistic influences to the music of The Luxuriant Sedans – from “The Three Kings” (Freddie, Albert and B.B.), Billy Gibbons and Michael Bloomfield, to Jeff Beck, Danny Gatton and Robben Ford.
Drummer Bob Tarleton (Kingfish, The Promise Breakers) is the perfectly timed engine that propels the band. Decades of experience enable him to create a distinctive pocket style that swings, percolates and grooves with minimal clutter.
Nevertheless, each has developed a distinctive voice and sound. They have the technique and imagination to play anything, but prefer to serve the song, adding color and texture with a judiciousness rare in modern music. They play with explosive improvisational passion, but they also solo with restraint and musicality, turning performance into fresh musical experiences.
An evening with The Luxuriant Sedans is equal parts welcome entertainment and delightful experience – new, comfortable, exciting…Luxuriant. Once you’ve gone Luxuriant, there is no turning back.
Laura Blackley & The Wildflowers – Laura Blackley is a singer, songwriter and purveyor of high lonesome Appalachian blues and soul. She was an on-air host and producer for seven years at WNCW 88.7 FM in Spindale, NC, spotlighting regional music, women in roots music, and bluegrass and old-time. She currently works (in addition to her gig schedule) as a Teaching Artist with Musicworks!, a program that utilizes music and musicianship to teach life skills to young children. A born storyteller, she has played in many bands, traveled many back roads and interstates and enjoys digging up old tunes and hearing the stories behind them. She believes that music has a healing power and is a communal act, and is very much looking forward to the next gig.
Look for a new website and recording project from Laura Blackley and the Wildflowers coming soon! The Wildflowers are Ian Harrod on bass and vocals, Josh Gibbs on lap steel, Richard Foulk on drums. And sometimes awesome guests like Lyndsay Pruett on fiddle and Dorsey Parker on ‘lectric guitar.
Seth Williams & Terry VunCannon – Seth Williams & Terry VunCannon are the perfect combination of youth & experience. Their vocals, acoustic guitar, & acoustic lap steel reminds the listener of the old days when blues acts played in the Juke Joints on the outskirts of town. Seth is a past Youth Challenge winner, with this being his 2nd trip to the IBC, and Terry will be making his 5th IBC in over two decades. Seth & Terry are proud to represent the Piedmont Blues Preservation of NC this year in the IBC.
Gabe Morales – At the age of ten, Gabe Morales started to play the guitar and showed a special affinity for Rock and Blues guitar playing- which he did with great maturity and expression -“like a grown man” (Two-Time Grammy Award-winner, Michael League of Snarky Puppy). The late Michael “Iron Man” Burks (1957-2012) once referred to Gabe as “Guitar Gabe”.
Gabe Morales is a guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, and performer. His songwriting is about life-a personal insight while living in the midst of the everyday life experience. His sound is continuously evolving; he is constantly studying the work of great musicians of all genres. His music includes elements of blues, jazz, classic rock and influences from Latin American folk music. In addition, his music is energetic, and at the same time invites listeners to reflect on daily challenges, feats, and defeats. When performing the blues, Gabe brings the blues legends of past and present to the stage and stands on their shoulders as he tells their stories and bends the strings of his red SG.
In 2011 he got involved with The Music Lab at Jefferson Center in Roanoke, Virginia, where he has had the opportunity to meet, perform, and record with numerous local, national, and international musicians and bands, among them: Blues legend Robert Cray, Snarky Puppy, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Rodney Jones, Victor Wooten, Little John Roberts (George Benson, Janet Jackson), Ben Williams and the Sound Effect, Robert “Sput” Searight, Lucy Woodward, Quinn Sullivan, The Jamie McLean Band, Banda Magda, Darrel Scott, Matt Schofield, James Pace, Chad Eby, Ocie Davis, The Fat Daddy Band, Hoppie Vaughan, Carlos Aranguren, Cameron McLaughlin, The Floorboards, and Jonathan Scales Fourchestra.
In 2013, Gabe was a featured guest on the internationally touring band Snarky Puppy’s live CD/DVD recording at the Jefferson Center: Snarky Puppy Family Dinner Vol. 1. He, along with Snarky Puppy, accompanied the twelve-year-old vocalist Jayna Brown. The same album was awarded a 2014 Grammy Award for Best R&B Performance for Snarky Puppy and Lalah Hathaway.
Gabe Morales has opened for the Robert Cray Band, The Wooten Brothers (with Jayna Brown), and Tommy Castro and The Pain Killers.The Gabe Morales Trio has performed at festivals such as FloydFest, Virginia Wine Festival, Steppin’ Out, Rooster Walk, and Down By The River to name a few. Gabe Morales has had numerous performances at venues such as the Jefferson Center and the Taubman Museum of Art.
In addition to performing with a band, Gabriel does solo performances with a classical, finger-picking, and singer-songwriter repertoire.
Nathan Pope – Nathan is a young blues guitarist from the heart of North Carolina with a great love for the blues. He received his first guitar at the age of 2 and was teaching himself to play by the age of 7. He gives credit to his Grandmother, Doris Powell, for her inspiration and love of music. Nathan’s knowledge and capabilities began to expand when he found the local blues society and started joining in on the weekly jams. The support and knowledge that he gained from these jams has boosted his confidence and has taken his playing ability to the next level.
In 2015 and 2016, he gained unparalleled knowledge when he attended the Pinetop Perkins Masterclass workshop in Claksdale, Mississippi. The workshop gave the ability to work with the likes of Bob Margolin, Jon Del Toro Richardson, Victor Wainwright, Nick Black and another young guitarist, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram. He now performs in his own band with two seasoned musicians, Chuck Sirko and Bruce Wassel, as well as on my own, acoustically. I have developed a very supportive fan base that enjoys my unique twist on the classics as well as my original tunes.