Friday July 7, 2017 – Clinton Square
3:00pm / Main Stage
Youth development and music education are important components of the New York State Blues Festival. Blues Ignition is made up of local students brought together by their passion for learning this great American art form.
South Side Super Blues Band
4:00pm / Main Stage
Some of Syracuse’s finest players, this group is made up of fathers and sons, brothers and friends….Petroff, Petroff, Petroff and Perry!
The Carolyn Kelly Blues Band
5:10pm / Main Stage
The Carolyn Kelly Blues Band showcases one of the best blues voices in Central New York. The bands roots date back to their performances with the legendary Roosevelt Dean. A natural vocal talent, Carolyn’s soulful deliveries carry an audience on a roller coaster ride of emotions from lust to scorn and everywhere in between. With a natural stage presence, Carolyn embraces and involves the audience on a very personal level at every one of her performances.
Norman Jackson Band
6:20pm / Main Stage
Rated #3 in the world at the 2016 International Blues Challenge, the Norman Jackson Band is led by “the Soul Machine”, Norman Jackson, and features his protégé and musical son, Rick Shortt, on saxophone. Holding down the groove on bass is Danny Williams, accompanied by “the Boogie Man” on drums. This foursome represents a true blues band that harnesses its members’ close relationships with one another as fuel for one of the most energetic musical experiences you’ll ever witness.
Dave Liddy & Steve Quenneville
7:30 and 9:00pm / Side Stage
The guitar, piano, and vocal duo of Steve Quenneville and Dave Liddy play authentic and original Stomps, Boogie Woogie, Blues and Ragtime. Pianist Liddy has played on several SAMMY award winning records and was inducted into the New York State Blues Hall of Fame in 2015. Quenneville, a notable blues singer and guitarist, is a founder of both the Moss Back Mule Band and String Bee, a SAMMY recipient. The Quenneville and Liddy partnership began over 40 years ago and their shared musical taste can be heard in every performance!
Noah Wotherspoon Band
7:50pm / Main Stage
Noah Wotherspoon has been immersed in the blues and mesmerizing audiences with his soulful guitar since he was a teenager. The Noah Wotherspoon Band, which includes Rob Thaxton on bass and Brian Aylor on drums, formed in 2009. Wotherspoon received the award for Best Guitarist at the 2015 International Blues Challenge and the band placed 2nd in the finals.
The Nighthawks with Bob Margolin
9:20pm / Main Stage
The Nighthawks began playing together in Washington, D.C. in the year 1972 and by 1976, they were opening local shows for top bluesmen, Muddy Waters and James Cotton, who travelled the country. Muddy and Cotton were quick to recommend venues along the I-90 corridor to their new young friends. Bob Margolin was front and center with Muddy in those days, accessible and eager to jam. Forty years later, both The Nighthawks and Syracuse are still on missions to keep the Blues Alive and Well. As always, the Nighthawks will dedicate their show to the memory of Kyle “The Hawk” Shirley.
Saturday July 8, 2017 – Clinton Square
Bottle Neck Slide Guitar Workshop with Gordon Munding (Delta Blues Roots, Styles and Techniques)
12:00pm / Side Stage
Gordon Munding is a blues artist from Rochester, NY and he’s shared the stage with musicians, John Hammond and Rory Block, just to name a couple. He began a local jam in honor of Son House, a Delta blues king who was discovered to be living in Rochester during the 1960s. The jam was a hot spot for blues artists of all levels and continued for over ten years. This workshop includes a review of open tunings employed by early blues pioneers such as Son House and Muddy Waters. These techniques continue to progress with modern guitarists like Derek Trucks and Carolyn Wonderland.
Neil Minet and Electric Mud
1:00pm / Main Stage
Neil Minet, winner of the 2016 KJ James Scholarship, has been making the rounds and been invited to sit in with quite a few well known local artists. This talented young man is proving himself to be one of CNY’s hottest up and comers. Neil brings his funk influenced trio, drawing on the progressive sounds of Henrik Freischlader and John Mayer.
1:40 and 2:55pm / Side Stage
Gordon Munding is an accomplished Blues & Roots musician. After meeting and opening for guitar gurus like Doc Watson and Richard Thompson, Gordon began to master the Peidmont and Delta the styles. In 2006 Gordon started a weekly tribute to Delta blues legend, Son House. Gordon has opened for many national acts, including John Hammond & John Mooney. He has fronted local and regional bands, including Blue Delta, and most recently The Crawdiddies. He currently performs solo and teaches blues in workshops, festivals and schools.
Morris and the Hepcats
2:00pm / Main Stage
A popular staple on the local blues scene, Morris and the Hepcats is a trio that almost sounds as big as… well never mind, they just have a BIG sound. They play a very cool selection of music with a twist of Hep and a kick to you know where.
Ron Spencer Band
3:15pm / Main Stage
Ron Spencer has been a mainstay of the CNY blues scene for over 30 years. He has lent his fiery blend of blues and American roots guitar playing to many of the area’s finest bands, such as Blue Wave Records’ Kim Lembo, Chicago blues diva, Big Time Sara, and R&B pioneer, Jimmy Cavallo. The Ron Spencer Band was formed 11 years ago with local frontman extraordinaire, Mark Gibson. Their high energy show will no doubt be a fest highlight!
4:10 and 5:10pm / Side Stage
Stiv is a singer-songwriter with a list of influences as unique as his sound and was a music lover long before establishing himself as a professional musician. Two years after graduating high school, he formed the JP Morgan Band with friends and began performing in the local bar scene. Throughout the years, Morgan would go on to form numerous acoustic and electric groups with Chris Merkley, guitarist and harmonica player for the JP Morgan Band.
4:30pm / Main Stage
American Showplace Music recording artist, Slam Allen, is one of the most dynamic and original blues and soul artists on the scene today. More than just a singer, writer, and guitar player, Slam connects with his audience like entertainers from a bygone era. Think Otis Redding, BB, Albert, and Freddie King, with a blend of Wilson Pickett, James Brown, Sly Stone and a little George Benson and Jimi Hendrix thrown in – making every Slam show a unique musical experience.
Chris O’leary Band
6:00pm / Main Stage
The critically acclaimed, award winning Chris O’Leary Band is a rising star on today’s blues scene. Chris cut his teeth playing with the legendary rock and roll Hall of Famer Levon Helm for six years. During this time Chris toured internationally and took up residency in New Orleans for the better part of a year. It’s here where he absorbed the various styles that form the eclectic roots sound of the band. The COB is a six piece high energy horn driven roots band that combines the styles of Chicago, Memphis, and New Orleans.
7:10 and 8:40pm / Side Stage
Chris Merkley has performed in over a thousand shows and has composed and produced an extensive catalog of original music for television. His songs have been featured in several independent films as well as HBO’s critically acclaimed series, “Generation Kill” and custom original music for Cinemax, HBO Latino, and Max Latino. Merkley In addition to performing solo, Merkley is also playing with Stiv Morgan (Merkley & Morgan), The Crooners, and Digger Jones in the New York area.
7:30pm / Main Stage
Blessed with a commanding, deeply expressive voice and an uncanny songwriting skill that instinctively draws upon a deep well of American musical traditions, Amy delivers a timelessly powerful statement with Didn’t It Rain, her debut solo record released in 2015. Amy Helm has been making music for most of her life. She’s won widespread praise as a singer, songwriter and live performer, first as a member of the celebrated alt-country collective Ollabelle and subsequently for her extensive work with her father, musical icon Levon Helm, who passed away in 2012.
JJ Grey & Mofro
9:00pm / Main Stage
From the days of playing greasy local juke joints to headlining major festivals, JJ Grey remains an unfettered, blissful performer, singing with a blue-collared spirit over the bone-deep grooves of his compositions. His presence before an audience is something startling and immediate, at times a funk rave-up, other times a sort of mass-absolution for the mortal weaknesses that make him and his audience human. When you see JJ Grey and his band Mofro live, and you truly, absolutely must, the man is fearless.