The schedule for the 25th Annual NYS Blues Festival will be announced in 2017. The lineup below was from the 2016 NYS Blues Festival on July 8-9, 2016. For a complete list of lineups from past festivals, please visit our Past Performers page.
Enjoy some of our area’s most talented students! Signature Syracuse, founded in 2000 by Executive Director Dick Ford, was born of a need in urban school districts to provide quality music education for underprivileged teens. Under the direction of local musicians, these students and graduates of Signature Music show how music education has enriched their lives!
Mike DeLaney and The Delinquents present a wide variety of blues when they take the stage. Their set is a variety of blues from the 1950’s-now, featuring classic instrumentals by way of Freddie King, Chicago blues by way of Otis Rush, and jump blues by way of the great T-Bone Walker. This group of seasoned blues musicians: Mike DeLaney, Jerry Neely, Peter Cappelli and Mark Tiffault are honored to be included in the 2016 Blues Fest lineup. Don’t miss this fine fest opener!
The two-time SAMMY Award nominees return to the main stage in support of their new album, “Auburn Lights,” the first studio release of all original material in 3 years. In addition to guitarist\singer\songwriter Mikal serafim and Auburn native Nancy Giannone on bass, FBR is joined by New York State blues hall of fame Harmonica maestro, Tom Townsley, as well as a mystery special guest. Expect a groovy high energy dose of modern funky blues rock you just cant refuse!
Westcott Jug Suckers
The Westcott Jug Suckers, Central NY’s legendary misfit choir, are getting together for one of their rare appearances. Known for their raucous shows, the versatile Jug Suckers bounce among Delta blues, ragtime, old jug band music, jump blues, R&B, and early jazz numbers interspersed with wisecracks, mischief, and participatory call and response singing with their audience.
Up and coming Memphis vocalist and harp player Brandon Santini combines his love and respect for traditional blues with a dynamic, colorful style of playing that is often compared to James Cotton or Paul Butterfield. His hard hitting harmonica driven performances are causing fans and critics alike to tap Santini as one of the fastest rising blues stars of his generation.
“They may be from Brooklyn, but the fiery brass- and gospel-infused funk emanating from Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds is rooted in Memphis soul. Their rhythmic wheelhouse combines big-city grit and down-home sweetness with a little bit of Americana twang.” – LA Times
Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds just released their first live album “Fowl Play”
Workshop with Tas Cru
12:00pm / Acoustic Stage
EVERY BODY LOVES THE BLUES (just some don’t know it yet). Blues Foundation 2014 Keeping the Blues Alive Award recipient, Tas Cru, explores how to make the blues something to be valued by kids and young adults – the next generation of blues fans. Tas will demonstrate the importance of performing songs kids can relate to and tailoring your performance in ways that will connect with a young audience. Participants will be treated to songs from his two blues for kids albums, “Even Bugs Sing the Blues” and his brand new, “Doggone Blues.”
Skip Murphy & His Merry Pranksters
1:00pm / Main Stage
Skip Murphy & His Merry Pranksters are 8 veteran musicians, all in other bands, who get together to play for the sheer joy of it, and it shows. Led by Syracuse Area Music Award winner Skip Murphy, the Merry Pranksters feature Dave Liddy (piano, keyboards, vocals), Mark Gibson (guitar, vocals), “Big D” Dave Schneider (guitar, slide guitar, vocals), George Newton (pedal steel guitar), Sharon Allen (vocals), Mike Ranger (bass) and Wayne Stevens (drums, vocals).
2:00pm / Main Stage
Raucous, rowdy, gentle, sweet, quirky and downright irreverent are all words that fittingly describe Tas Cru’s songs and testify to his reputation as one of the most unique bluesmen plying his trade today. in 2014 Cru was the recipient of a 2014 Keeping the Blues Alive award, and his latest album “You Keep the Money” was at or near the top of every major blues chart for most of 2015.
“The vivacity and sheer joy with which Cru plays is intoxicating!” – Living Blues Magazine
Midnight Mike Petroff is a blues singer, harmonica virtuoso and leader of the Midnight Mike Petroff Blues Harp Band. The band was formed in 2012 and members include Ron Caramella on guitar and vocals, Gregg Zimmer on drums and Charlie Huff on bass. Influenced by senior harmonica players, such as Little Walter, James Cotton, Junior Wells, Kim Wilson, and Howlin’ Wolf, Petroff brings a singular variety of phrasing to the blues harmonica.
Toronzo Cannon has become one of Chicago’s most recognized and most popular bluesmen through the sheer force of his music, his songs, his live charisma, and maybe most impressively, his passion for what he is doing. He’s played the Chicago Blues Festival on nine separate occasions, either as a sideman, a special guest, a band leader or, most recently, as a main stage headliner. With The Chicago Way and a tour schedule that will take him coast to coast and around the globe, it’s only a matter of time until the rest of the world figures out what his hometown already knows: Toronzo Cannon is the real deal. He’s battled his way to the top of the ultra-competitive Windy City blues scene, has already played multiple tours of Europe and delivered roof-raising performances around the U.S.A. He’s earned his place through charismatic talent, long hours, hard work, and his burning desire to succeed. That’s his way, that’s the only way he knows. That’s the Chicago way.
Soul of Syracuse with The Fabulous Ripcords featuring special guests Pete McMahon, Maureen Henesey and Mark Hoffman
The Fabulous Ripcords is a Syracuse-area band known for playing blues, rockabilly, roots, swing, country and more. This five piece band features two guitarslingers, Rex Lyons and Irv Lyons Jr. The band also features Scott Ebner on keyboards, Jay Gould on bass and David Read on drums. The band has played extensively in the northeast, including several festivals. The Fabulous Ripcords received a SAMMY’s for best Americana album in 2009 and was nominated for Best Blues album 2013. The band’s song “If You Love Me” was featured in the movie “Crooked Arrow.” The band was nominated for a Native American Music Award in 2014.
Mississippi native Sonny Landreth has enjoyed a prolific career dating back to his solo debut album Blues Attack in 1981. Although that album fanned the flames of his reputation as an emerging force in roots music, Grammy nominee Landreth kept a parallel career going as a celebrated sideman and session player. Over the years he performed and recorded with artists that include John Hiatt, British blues innovator John Mayall, and he toured as a member of Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band. He also collaborated with Eric Clapton, and has performed at all of Clapton’s prestigious Crossroads Guitar Festivals since 2004. Along the way Landreth has continued to develop his vision and his musical voice, growing more original and diverse, expanding from blues, zydeco, folk, country and jazz into increasingly category blurring musical excursions like Bound By the Blues, his new release due out in June.
Butch Trucks was a founding member of the iconic Allman Brothers Band, and together with fellow drummer Jai Johanny Johanson developed the rhythmic drive that was so critical to the band’s sound. These days Trucks is touring with the Freight Train Band – Berry Oakley Jr (son of Allman founder Berry Oakley), keyboard legend Bruce Katz, Southern Hospitality’s Damon Fowler, Vaylor Trucks (Butch’s son), vocalist Heather Gillis and second drummer Tad Isch.