Various places became focal points for the blues during its development in the 20th century. From its origin in the cotton fields, lumber camps, plantations and the surrounding homes and juke joints of the Mississippi Delta region, it’s popularity spread to small towns and then on to larger cities. There it sometimes combined with other music to evolve into some of the hybrid musical styles we have today. When you visit one of our local clubs that features blues music, play a blues recording or tune in a blues show on the radio, you are generating the soulful energy of the Blues that began over a hundred years ago to all within earshot.
The Ark is the location for at least three big time shows that blues fans will love. Gear up for some blazing guitar work when Bernard Allison visits on the 13th. Bernard has been playing since he was ten when he was given a guitar by his father, blues guitar legend and kindred spirit to Ann Arbor, Luther Allison. He has paid his dues not only by playing with Luther but also by walking in the big blues shoes of other influential bluesmen, like Magic Sam, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Otis Rush, and BB King. Bernard was also on the road as guitarist in Koko Taylor’s Blues Machine for three years where he learned some valuable life lessons. From all the generous input he has developed his own unique style by mastering the riffs and rhythms of the music closely related to the Blues — soul, funk, rock-n-roll, and gospel. Check out his latest Chills And Thrills.
Maria Muldaur and Her Red Hot Lousiana Band debuts at the Ark on the 20th. What’s not to like about Maria? With her sultry voice that has graced just about all musical styles except classical, and an awesome friendly demeanor on stage, she makes you feel right at home. You could say she has done it all, attested to by her lengthy musical history and list of collaborative friends that is second to none. In the 1980’s her association with Dr John, and Charles and Aaron Neville, drew her into the music of Louisiana where she dubbed the term “bluesiana”, still widely used to describe the area’s musical gumbo. Her Ark appearance coincides with her latest Steady Love.
Mavis Staples returns on the 23rd as part of the Ark’s Annual Fall Fundraiser. Her Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction and Grammy Awards afford her music royalty status, yet her soul-bearing humility and authentic desire to reach people with her gospel grooves will bring on tears of joy while you’re stomping your feet.
The Local Blues And Local Brews at Guy Hollerin’s in the Holiday Inn Near UM’s Campus is the hot spot to check out your favorite local bands on Saturday nights to get your groove on. Jim Mc Carty & Mystery Train return on the 10th to unload a ton of rockin’ blues led by Mc Carty, Detroit’s main guitar master. The Bluescasters are ready to rock the house with lively jump- boogie blues on the 17th. Guitarist Chris Canas & the Blues Revolution fire up the blues and bring home soothing soul grooves on the 24th.
Centrally located on Main Street, Conor O’Neill’s Irish Pub keeps downtown rockin’, as The Terraplanes drive home the blues, R&B, and roots rock on the 22nd.
Kick off your weekend festivities with the Happy Hour every Friday starting at 6:00PM located at Live at PJ’s. Notable groups for blues fans include Fubar, playing R&B, pop, and rock standards and originals on the 2nd. Drivin’ Sideways delivers soulful country, honky tonk, and rock ballads on the 9th and 23rd. The Terraplanes deliver house-rockin’ blues and roots rock on the 16th. The 23rd is TBA.
Laith al-Saadi’s powerful guitar work rivets home a towering tribute to popular blues, rock and jazz tunes from the 60’s onward every Thursday at Goodnite Gracie.