Nobody can tell you how the blues feel unless they have the blues. We all take it differently.
- Otis Rush

Events News

News, Upcoming and Past Events from the MVBS Events Committee.

Damon Fowler Returns to the Quad Cities At Kavanaugh’s Hilltop, Friday, March 24, 2017

Damon Fowler byTracy MayThe Mississippi Valley Blues Society proudly brings back to the area Damon Fowler on Friday, March 24 at Kavanaugh’s Hilltop Tap, 1228 30th Street, Rock Island, IL. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. Admission is $10 for Mississippi Valley Blues Society members, or $12 for non-members (application will be available at the door).

With his hybrid of roots rock, blues, and sacred steel, Florida native Damon Fowler started wowing audiences with his musical exploits as a teenager, building a reputation as one of the hottest young players on the scene. Adding songwriting and vocal skills to his repertoire over the years has brought him many accolades, with critics extolling his originality and maturity as well as his technical guitar expertise. In last year's "Best of Tampa" poll, Creative Loafing magazine named him "Best Guitarist... And Slide Guitarist...and Lap Steel Player...and Dobro Player."

Fowler's guitar work has been compared to Johnny Winter and Jeff Beck, while his slide guitar has a hint of the late Duane Allman. He can play fiery guitar runs with the best of them, but it's his lyrical work on lap steel and Dobro that makes him stand out among the legions of guitar heroes. Guitar Player magazine notes: "In the Blues world—or any other genre, for that matter—the complete package is hard to come combine facile fervor on a Tele, a lap-steel, and a flattop with a truly compelling vocal style and soulful songwriting—that's something rare in an artist of any age. It's even more impressive when such maturity and authenticity come from a 25-year-old like Damon Fowler."

MVBS Presents Bruce Katz, Monday, December 5

BRUCE KATZThe Mississippi Valley Blues Society announces that Bruce Katz and the Bruce Katz Band will be making a stop at Harley Corin’s, 1708 State Street, Bettendorf, IA on Monday, December 5 starting at 7:00 p.m. The cost to see this brilliant performance will be $8 if you are a Mississippi Valley Blues Society member, or $10 if you are have not joined the blues society (application will be available at the door).

Bruce Katz was born in Boston, Massachusetts, and from 1996 - 2010 he was on the faculty at the Berklee College of Music in Boston as an associate professor. Playing music, both Blues and Jazz, has been his thing for many years and it shows in each of his performances.

In the early '80s Bruce’s first major supporting gig was with Big Mama Thornton; he then worked and toured with Barrence Whitfield & the Savages, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Jimmy Witherspoon, Johnny Adams, and Tiger Okoshi. Burned out from life on the road, he enrolled at New England Conservatory, earning a master's degree in Jazz. Five months after graduation, Bruce met Ronnie Earl, who hired him as one of the Broadcasters. Bruce has also played several tours with the Allman Brothers Band as well as with Gregg Allman and Friends.

Bruce has released 7 CDs with an eighth, Out From The Center, just released September 15th. He has also appeared on nearly 70 others CDs with the likes of Ronnie Earl, Delbert McClinton, John Hammond, Duke Robillard, Little Milton, Jimmy Witherspoon and many, many others. His list of national recognized awards go on and on, but naming a few – Bruce is a three-time Blues Music Award nominee for "Piano Player of the Year," and a member of the New York State Blues Hall Of Fame.

This event is being presented by The Mississippi Valley Blues Society. The objective of the Society is to educate the general public about the native art form of blues-related music through performance, interpretation and preservation, thus enhancing appreciation and understanding.

Mississippi Valley Blues Society Presents Tommy Castro and the Painkillers, Saturday, October 8

TommyCastro by Mitchell GlotzerThe Mississippi Valley Blues Society is proud to present Tommy Castro and the Painkillers at The Establishment, 220 19th Street, Rock Island, IL. The show will take place on Saturday, October 8, 2016. Doors will open at 9:10 p.m. and show will start at 9:30 p.m. The cost to see this performance will be $22 in advance, or $25 if you wait to purchase your tickets at the door.


Tommy Castro started his fiery music interest at the age of 10, when he first came under the spell of Eric Clapton, Elvin Bishop, Mike Bloomfield, and other blues-rock players. Born in San Jose, California, Tommy continued to fall in love with the blues guitar work of Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Freddie King, Buddy Guy, Elmore James and singers like Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett and James Brown. By his late 20s he was playing in a variety of San Francisco-area blues and soul bands. For over 40 years now, it’s been full-steam ahead for Tommy, releasing 16 albums filled with original blues, soul, and West Coast rock.

Tommy Castro and the Painkillers, currently featuring bassist Randy McDonald, keyboardist Michael Emerson, and drummer Bowen Brown, have toured non-stop, playing hundreds of dates at clubs, festivals and concert halls all over the United States, Canada and Europe. On the road is where he learned to turn his band into a dynamic, high-performance engine, able to bring down the house with a soulful ballad, and then bring fans to their feet with a blistering blues rocker. Billboard says the band plays “irresistible contemporary blues-rock” with “street-level grit and soul.”

Over the years, Tommy has won an array of prestigious blues music awards. In May 2010, The Blues Foundation awarded Castro multiple Blues Music Award honors for Blues Male Artist of the Year, Contemporary Blues Album of the Year, B.B. King Entertainer of the Year (the very highest award a blues performer can receive), and with his band, Band of the Year. In the words of Blues Revue, “Tommy Castro can do no wrong.”

With their newest release, “Method To My Madness”, Castro says, “I was trying to get back to my basic ingredients: blues and soul. I went for the energy of connecting with my band. We kept everything raw, capturing the feeling of playing live. I’m not about being perfect,” he says, summing up. “I’m about being real.” Clearly that is the method to his madness.

Mississippi Valley Blues Society Presents Blind Pig Recording Artist, JW Jones, September 4

JW JonesThe Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents guitarist extraordinaire and Blind Pig recording artist, JW Jones. Jones will appear in concert at My Place Pub, 4407 State St., Bettendorf, IA on Sunday, September 4. Showtime is 6:00 pm, and admission will be $10 for the general public, and $8 for MVBS members. This show will be outdoors, a first-time endeavor for this blues-friendly venue, My Place Pub. Bring your lawn chairs!

“JW-Jones is a red hot young Canadian guitar slinger/singer“, says Grammy-winning producer Tom Hambridge. Canada’s national newspaper, the Globe and Mail, referred to this Maple Blues Award winner as “one of this country’s top blues guitar stars.” The 36-year-old Jones started with a bang, being the featured artist on Canada’s premiere Northern Blues Music label release, then was offered to have his second release produced by The Fabulous Thunderbird’s Kim Wilson. Wilson also accompanies Jones on the work. Jones released 6 more works before being signed to Blind Pig.

Earlier this year Jones was given a call by George Thorogood’s management, and asked specifically to open all shows for Thorogood during his tour of Canada. In 2015, Buddy Guy performed with Jones in Chicago, then invited JW to trade-riffs with him on two sold-out Canadian dates, introducing him to the audience by saying “this young man is part of the people that will keep the blues alive”. In November of the same year, Buddy joined Jones on stage at his club ‘Legends’, making it a total of four times in seven months that he’s supported this young artist. Jones is becoming more in-demand than ever before, as Woodstock legends, Canned Heat, continued the trend by inviting him to be their special guest on two festivals in Ontario.

You can see him on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend at My Place Pub, Bettendorf.

Mississippi Valley Blues Society Presents Rippin’ Blues Band, Hector Anchondo, August 28

Hector AnchondoThe Mississippi Valley Blues Society is proud to present the Hector Anchondo Band at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 28, at Kavanaugh’s Hilltop Tap, 1228 30th Street, Rock Island, IL. The cost to see this performance will be $8 if you are a Mississippi Valley Blues Society member, or $10 if you have not joined the Blues Society (application will be available at the door).

Hector Anchondo started living and breathing the blues when he picked up his first guitar at the age of 16. Finding himself drawn to the Fender guitar, Anchondo fixated on artists who played the Fender Stratocaster - artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and Eric Clapton. He also respected the country greats such as Johnny Cash and Hank Williams Sr.

“I’ve been actively working on guitar to get to the point where I could hang with Jimi or Stevie,” Anchondo says. “Its things like that that keep me pushing to play better, faster, and with style. I knew at a young age that I loved everything about music and I want to do it professionally for the rest of my life.”

By the time Anchondo was 22, he had pursued his musical dream with years of touring, thousands of sold out shows, and three albums under his belt. Now, at the age of 30, Anchondo has boasted the fact that he has shared the stage with notable artists such as Styx, CCR, Johnny Winter, Marshal Tucker Band, Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Magic Slim, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Indigenous, and many more. He has five albums recorded and is in the midst of recording a sixth. With shows booked until the end of the year, Anchondo is on his way to becoming a well-established blues veteran, and it won’t be long before he’s up there with his heroes.

MVBS Presents Reverend Raven and the Chain-Smokin' Altar Boys at the Establishment, Sunday, June 26

Rev. RavenThe Mississippi Valley Blues Society is proud to present a Midwestern’s-blues-fan-favorite, Reverend Raven and the Chain Smokin' Altar Boys, at The Establishment, 220 19th Street, Rock Island, IL. The show will take place on Sunday, June 26, 2016, at 6:00 p.m. The cost to see this performance will be $10 if you are a Mississippi Valley Blues Society member, or $12 if you have not yet joined the Blues Society (applications will be available at the door).

“Hard-driving, passionate blues” is how Raven describes the sound of his group. “I’d like to say ‘50s and ‘60s inspired Chicago blues, and I’ve had bands and been in bands where we’ve done that, but we’re really not like that. We try and present our music like what I saw back in the early ‘70s when I went to the clubs in Chicago to see these great blues bands. They were there to entertain you and make you have a great experience so you’d come back and drink more. So that’s what we try and do.”

Born and raised on south side of Chicago, the Reverend has been playing the blues since 1971 when he first saw Freddy King play at the Kinetic Theatre in Chicago. After a 15 year hitch in the Navy, he moved to Milwaukee where he began a long friendship and collaboration with Madison Slim, long time harmonica player for Jimmy Rogers. Since 1990 he has opened for B.B King, Gatemouth Brown, Pinetop Perkins, Koko Taylor Band, Junior Wells, Billy Branch, Magic Slim, Elvin Bishop, Sugar Blue, Lonnie Brooks, William Clarke, Lefty Dizz, and numerous others at festivals and at Buddy Guy's Legends.

Reverend Raven and Chain Smokin' Altar Boys were chosen by the Wisconsin Music Industry (WAMI) for best blues band in 1999, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2010, and again in 2015. They also received the People's Choice Award in 2006, 2008 and 2010. The band has played in the Quad Cities several times since their 2013 appearance at the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, but this will be a first-time show at The Establishment, Rock Island, IL. The Establishment features a large dance floor, state of the art sound system, and plenty of seating.

MVBS Presents Guitarist Dave Fields & Band, Sunday, May 8

dave fieldsThe Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents "New York Boss Man" Dave Fields and his band at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 8, at Kavanaugh's Hilltop Tap, 1228 30th Street, Rock Island, IL. The cost to see this performance will be $8 if you are a Mississippi Valley Blues Society member, or $10 if you have not joined the Blues Society (application will be available at the door).

Dave Fields is a "genre-busting" blues-rock guitarist/singer/composer/producer whose performances have been electrifying audiences from New York City, Oslo, Moscow, Sardinia, and San Diego for many years. Todd Fitzsimmons of The NY State Blues Festival says, "Dave deserves to be heard by every blues fan...". And fortunately for blues lovers, his music has been heard on TV, radio, and the web, used for the 2004 Olympics, VH1, IBM, and much more.

Dave's musical path has been quite a journey. "Unlike many blues musicians, I was raised to be a musical 'hit man'", states Dave. From the time Dave was a young child was exposed to noteworthy musicians. He grew up in his noted gifted composer/arranger/producer/father's, Sammy "Forever" Fields, recording studio being exposed to the likes of Sammy Kahn, Rupert Holmes and Stevie Wonder. After attending Berklee College of Music, Dave was immersed in the NYC music scene as a first-call guitarist and multi-instrumentalist. This allowed Dave his unmatchable music experience which lead to him doing sessions with many famous musicians and producers like Tommy James and Ahmed Ertegen (to name a few) and even was on staff of one of the top five jingle companies in "NY Look Music". As Dave's notoriety grew, he was able to add playing/recording with Aretha Franklin, performances with the likes of Hubert Sumlin, The Drifters, Lenny Kravitz, and Blues Traveler, and his appearance in the U2 movie "Rattle and Hum", to his resume.

But not long into his musical career, Dave made the decision that he was going to make a stand in his life. He was going to do what was really important to himself. So he set out on his new career path - being Dave Fields the artist. "I had backed up and produced so many other artists and one day it dawned on me, why am I doing this for everyone else? Why can't I do it for me!". This turned out to be a remarkable decision for him - in 2006 Dave won Best Self Produced CD at the International Blues Challenge for producing "Back in Bluesville", and on May 20, 2012 he was inducted into NY Blues Hall Of Fame along with John Hammond and Gary US Bonds. "As a musician I was put on this this earth to spread joy, love and life to everyone. I try to do that what every note I play, with every lyric I write and sing," Dave Fields.