Three days of blues in the Port City will include live concerts, a blues workshop, an all-day blues jam, a guitar raffle and the always popular Blues Cruise aboard Wilmington’s Henrietta III.
Headlining the main deck on the Friday night Cruise will be Nashville guitarist Rickey Godfrey and his band.
“Rickey is a consummate entertainer,” said Cape Fear Blues Society president Lan Nichols in a telephone interview. “He’s a master on guitar … and has a really emotional voice. Rickey reads his audience and knows exactly what to give.”
Godfrey, who has been blind since birth, has been nominated for both guitarist and keyboard player of the year by the Music City Blues Society. He’s touring now as a featured guitarist with the Cee Cee James Band, so this is a rare opportunity to see the Rickey Godfrey Blues Band.
Above the main deck, fans will be treated to the retro blues of Wilmington’s own wildly popular Ten Dollar Thrill. Up in the atrium will be acoustic storyteller Tampa Blue.
Cruisers will be noshing on heavy appetizers provided by Angie’s of Chris’s Restaurant and no doubt enjoying the three different cash bars.
The boat departs promptly at 7:30 p.m., but be sure to get there early enough to enjoy blues veteran Rick Tobey singing his unique brand of Chickenhead blues on the dock before boarding.
The Henrietta III will return to dock by around 9:30, and you’ll want to head right over to the Port City’s favorite blues saloon, the Rusty Nail, where The Treblemakers will be rockin’ the room with their electric blues/classic surf sounds!
Presented by the Cape Fear Blues Society, the Festival has a reputation for bringing top talent to town while it also showcases the best in local and regional blues artists.
According to Nichols, this year is no exception. Saturday begins with a free
blues workshop conducted by Raleigh-based guitarist Eric Manning and sponsored by longtime Festival supporter Finkelstein Music. Following the workshop will be a performance, also free, by Manning’s band, E-Train & the Rusted Rails, at The Cellar in downtown Wilmington.
The Festival’s Saturday headliner is Studebaker John & the Hawks (The name refers to a Studebaker Hawk, a car he still owns).
“John is a triple threat,” said Nichols. “He plays great guitar, harmonica and has an excellent voice, too. He’s got a lot of old-school Chicago in his sound, but can rock out, too.”
Born in Chicago as John Grimaldi, he started playing harmonica at about seven years old, and was greatly influenced by Chicago’s famed Maxwell Street. He learned guitar after watching a single electrified slide guitar performance of Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers.
Currently on tour through the U.S. and Canada, Studebaker John talked by phone about his newest CD, Studebaker John’s Maxwell Street Kings’ That’s the Way You Do (Delmark 2010). The 15-track recording is essentially a tribute to all the musicians who performed on Maxwell Street.
“It was a labor of love for me. I started thinking about it years ago, when I was on a bigger blues label, but they didn’t think it was commercial.
“Then last year, I was working at St. George Records, playing a session for Delta Slim, and these two musicians – Rick Kreher on guitar and Steve Cushing on drums – were there and I thought that maybe we could do it.
“The three of us were able to conjure up a sound.
“I wanted it to be a tribute, but still original. It’s the same line-up as Hound Dog Taylor: two guitars, drum, and harmonica … I’ve always been a fan of Less Is More.”
His Rusty Nail show on Saturday night will include tunes from the new CD as well as the full band sound of Studebaker John & the Hawks. Don’t miss this one!
Opening for Studebaker John, by the way, is local acoustic fave, Spider Mike Bochey, so get there early.
The Sunday blues jam starts at noon, and this is always a great event. There are a lot of great players in Wilmington, and they come out of the woodwork for this event, so get ready to be entertained. Bring a lawn chair, but leave your coolers home. There will be plenty of food and drink for sale.
The Jam ends at 6 p.m. with the Finkelstein Music Guitar Giveaway—a Gretsch Electromatic Pro Jet guitar ($850 value). Raffle tickets cost $1 each with proceeds supporting the projects and programs of the Cape Fear Blues Society.
Raffle tickets are available at Finkelstein Music and The Rusty Nail.
For more information about the Cape Fear Blues Festival visit http://www.capefearblues.org or call 910-350-8822.
Friday, July 29
5:30 p.m. Live blues on the dock. (Water St. at Dock St.) Blues soloist Rick Tobey will treat you to the blues, Chickenhead style, as you wait to board.
7 p.m. Boarding begins.
7:30 p.m. Blues Cruise on the Henrietta III! Headliner Rickey Godfrey brings his gritty, soulful blues to the main deck. Wilmington’s own Ten Dollar Bill will be rockin’ the party deck. Storyteller Tampa Blue will be in the atrium. Tickets are $49 (www.wilmingtontickets.com). Or call 910-350-8822.
9 p.m. Post-Cruise Party featuring The Treblemakers at the Rusty Nail, 1310 S. 5th Ave. (910-251-1888).
Saturday, July 30
11 a.m. Blues workshop sponsored by Finkelstein Music: blues guitarist/vocalist/ songwriter Eric Manning followed by an outdoor set of jump blues and rockabilly from Manning’s band E-Train & the Rusted Rail at The Cellar, 35 N. Front St. Free.
8 p.m. Festival concert. Headliner Studebaker John & the Hawks. A night of electric blues from a Chicago legend. Opening act Spider Mike Bochey, at the Rusty Nail, 1310 S. 5th Ave. (910-251-1888). Tickets $8 advance/$10 at the door.(www.capefearblues.org or http://www.wilmingtontickets.com)
Sunday, July 31
Noon – 6 p.m. All-day blues jam under the tent at the Rusty Nail. Free.
6 p.m. Guitar raffle announced. Note: you don’t have to be on hand to win! Raffle tickets are $1 each or six for $5. A steal!
This summer marks year 16 for the Cape Fear Blues Festival, and once again, I can’t wait!
According to Lan Nichols from Cape Fear Blues Society, they’ve moved away from the big outdoor concert on Saturday to a few different venues. And who doesn’t want to support the blues clubs, after all?
They don’t have all the details worked out yet, so I’m jumping the gun a little bit here, but I wanted to give you plenty of time to get yo tix! This weekend is going bring together Chicago blues, swamp funk, soul blues, electric blues and acoustic blues with some surf rock(?) mixed in to keep us on our toes. Go figure.
Here’s the schedule as it stands now. Friday night, July 29, is the ever popular Cape Fear Blues Cruise, of course. Henrietta III, Wilmington’s largest riverboat, was originally built for dinner cruises and later enlarged to be a casino boat. There are three decks; the lower two have dining and dancing. The upper deck has an enclosed atrium as well as the open deck portion. There will be three different bands playing.
My buddy Rickey Godfrey and his blues quartet will be tearing it up on the main deck of Henrietta III. If you’ve never experienced this Telecaster-wielding, growling, gravelly-throated soulman, you’re in for a treat.
He released a new CD last year, Nasty Man, and let me tell you what just a few folks in the know are saying about it:
“… Nasty Man, a 12-track whoop-up that comes out of the chute kickin’ like a wild bull on Red Bull. From the grungy “I Want Me a Nasty Woman” to the first single from the album, “Don’t Get Your Honey Where You Get Your Money,” this is a fiery, guitar driven and gritty masterpiece. It’s electric blues the way God intended them to be played. Lord have mercy, Miss Percy. Rickey Godfrey has done got nasty on us, and it sounds so good.”
– Michael Buffalo Smith, Universal Music Tribe
“Hard sung vocals, wonderfully amusing lyrics and scorching guitar all make this one a winner.”
– Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro/ Blues Editor at Mary 4 Music
Rickey’s unique brand of hot rockin’ blues and hip-shakin’ soul will keep you boogeying all night long. Yah!
Playing the party deck will be Wilmington faves, Ten Dollar Thrill. These guys are a blast! They’re into everything from Chicago blues to West Coast swing to rockabilly and good ole rock & roll.
This band gets rave reviews wherever and whenever they play. Check ‘em out on the Henrietta III. I promise you, it’ll be a party!
If you’re into acoustic blues and finger pickin’, don’t miss Tampa Blue on the upper deck.
It’s hard to describe this music in just a few words. In fact, someone asked this Alabama picker what kind of blues he played, and his answer was “Traditional, acoustic, Delta, slide, Piedmont, finger-style, Southern rural, pre-war, country, pre-electric with a touch of spirituals, hollers, rags and American finger-style guitar seasoning.”
Blues fans love the historical fabric of his music along with the storytelling and anecdotes that this southern gem brings to the stage.
Before you even set foot on the Henrietta III, Rick Tobey from the Chickenhead Blues Band will be entertaining on the dock. This well-respected musician won the 2009 Cape Fear Blues Society Solo Blues Challenge and then the 2010 Triangle Blues Society Solo Blues Challenge. About himself Rick says, “I was born in a south Louisiana chicken coop with a bottle neck on my little finger and a guitar in my hand. Been playin’ dem Chickenhead Blues ever since I could crawl, from the Mississippi Delta to the North Carolina Piedmont, from the Cape Fear River Basin to the Smokey Mountains.”
Afterward, head to the Post Cruise Blues Party, where the Treblemakers
are the headline act at the Port City’s hottest little juke joint – the Rusty Nail. If you’re not from these parts, you may not know these guys yet, but this five-piece blues band slash surf rock group rocks the room. Party hearty!
Saturday, July 30, begins with the downtown blues workshop sponsored by Finkelstein Music. Blues guitarist Eric Manning will share his knowledge and stories of life on the road and then deliver a kick-butt set at The Cellar with his band, E-Train & the Rusted Nails. This will be a performance for anyone calling himself – or herself– a blues fan.
Chicago bluesman Studebaker John (aka John Grimaldi) plays both guitar and harp. He has been recording albums, touring the U.S. and Europe since the seventies. On his latest CD, Studebaker John’s Maxwell Street Kings (Delmark 2010) he pays homage to the early days of Chicago street blues.
I can’t say enough good things about Studebaker John, and it seems I’m not alone:
“It’s rare to hear a blues artist perform three sets of irresistible originals, and it’s even rarer for that artist to stay ‘in the zone’ from first song to last.”
– Thomas J. Cullen, III (Blues Revue magazine)
“John captures the raw energy and grit of the classic blues musicians but pumped up to a rocking energy level. He has a deep understanding of the blues tradition that comes from hanging with the classic Chicago bluesmen, but he’s created his own sound and style from these roots.”
– Bruce Iglauer (Alligator Records)
The opening act for this show is Two of a Kind.
Come Sunday July 31,, and we’re here once again at the Rusty Nail for the All-Day Blues Jam. ‘Bring a lawn chair because this will be outdoors under the tent. You’ll find some of the area’s finest blues musicians come out for this free event.
At day’s end, some lucky duck will win a Gretsch Electromatic Pro Jet guitar ($850 value). Tickets are just $1 each and the proceeds help support the projects and programs of the Cape Fear Blues Society. The giveaway takes place after 6 p.m. and it’s sponsored by Finkelstein Music.
You can find all the information you need about tickets, times and locations at the Cape Fear Blues Festival website.
The site will continue to be updated as more Festival information becomes available.