I think the blues will always be around. People need it.

- Johnny Winter

Events News

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

StormcellarThis Thursday, September 11, The Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents Australian band Stormcellar at The Muddy Waters, 1708 State Street, Bettendorf, IA. The show starts at 7:00 p.m. Admission is $5 per person.

Stormcellar, from Sydney, is one of the top alternative music acts in Australia. This six-piece band, described as a mix of Urban Roots, Electric Blues, Modern Folk and Alt Country, is coming through Bettendorf in the middle of their second US tour.

Built on the bones of a straightforward lineup of bass, slide, guitar, drums and harp, Stormcellar should fit neatly into a typical band category. Add a mandolin, a singer with the range and power to travel from Gospel to Southern Rock, throw in the occasional fiddle, a bit of Folk, complex arrangements and lyrics that do more than just rhyme, and you have a very interesting beast: an original band indeed.

Americana bible No Depression magazine says "Stormcellar - The Rolling Stones fronted by James Taylor - a powerhouse songwriting act with a formidable live show. Straight up." They have been on the Australian Blues & Roots Charts for 22 months and have two #1 albums, along with positioning themselves in the top 50 on US National Blues Charts.

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.


Peter Karp and Sue FoleyThe Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents Blind Pig recording artists Peter Karp & Sue Foley and their band on Sunday May 18 at On the Rock Bar & Grill (formerly Martini's), 4619 34th St. Rock Island, IL. The show starts at 6:00 p.m., and admission is $8.00, only $5.00 for MVBS members.

On the heels of Blind Pig recording artists Peter Karp and Sue Foley's 2010 critically acclaimed and artistically daring collaboration He said - She Said comes their next CD: Beyond the Crossroads, a high voltage, plank spankin', piano boogeyin', slide guitar stompin' CD that showcases 12 brilliantly crafted and unique original compositions that have become the trademark of these two noted singer-songwriter guitarists. Beyond the Crossroads features their road band, Mike Catapano on drums and Niles Terrat on bass, as well as some old friends and bandmates. The newest CD "is a natural extension of what we started with He Said - She Said in that we're writing songs with themes in mind. Positivity, renewal, absolution," says Foley.

A singer-songwriter, guitarist, pianist and American troubadour, Peter Karp is a master songsmith with an art for spinning true-to-life emotions, humor, and candor. He first caught national attention with help from Rolling Stone guitarist Mick Taylor, who recorded and toured with Karp on his first label release, The Turning Point. Critics have compared his songwriting to that of John Hiatt and John Prine, with impressive guitar and slide licks infused by his love of Freddie King and Elmore James.

Sue Foley is considered to be one of the finest blues and roots artists working today. Born to a working class family, Sue spent her early childhood moving from Canadian town to town with her mother. At sixteen, she embarked on her professional career. By twenty-one, she was living in Austin TX and recording for the legendary blues label, Antone's Records. Her first release, Young Girl Blues, quickly established her unique talents as a blues guitarist and songwriter. Throughout the '90s she took to the road with her paisley Telecaster and honed her craft, working and sharing the stage with such artists as BB King, Buddy Guy, Lucinda Williams and Tom Petty, and including a set at the 1993 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival.


2014ibc-web-band400The Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents the 2014 Iowa Blues Challenge Quad Cities area Preliminary Round, Sunday April 13 at The Muddy Waters, 1708 State St., Bettendorf,IA. Four bands will compete starting at 6:00 p.m. The cost of admission is $5 for any Blues Society members or $8 if you are not a member.

For 21 years, the competition has been sponsored by the Central Iowa Blues Society in cooperation with other blues society in Iowa, including the Mississippi Valley Blues Society and Lizard Creek Blues Society. The contest is open to any Iowa blues band that has not been nominated for the Blues Music Awards (Handy's).

Competitors are Mercury Brothers, Concrete Slim and the Sidewalks, Phineas J's and The Harris Collection. Bands will start at 6 PM and perform 30-minute sets.

The winner earns the right to compete in the International Blues Challenge held in Memphis next January. The prize package, considered one of the best for such a competition, includes cash, travel expenses, recording time and the opportunity to perform at the 2014 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival in Davenport and the 2015 Winter BluesFest, DesMoines.

6:00 p.m.

Mercury Brothers

Forged from a common bond in their love of the BLUES the Mercury Brothers have been, in one form or another, playing the BLUES their way since day one. Drawing from a wealth of incredible local players, they are always ready for one more show. Enough said, in no particular order the Mercury Brothers are Tony Carton on drums, Ricardo Burris Vocals/Harmonica, Chris Avey Guitar, Don Gustafson Bass, Joe Collins Guitar and George Smith on sax. See you at the show.

6:45 p.m.

Concrete Slim and the Sidewalks

Concrete Slim and the Sidewalks perform a blend of cover and original music derived from blues, jazz and life. Guitarist, vocalist and songwriter William Dale Rigsby is Concrete Slim, a Rock Island native who lived and performed in Tucson and Los Angeles before returning to the Quad-Cities. The Sidewalks are bassist Tim Rockstroh and drummer Dave Hendershot, a veteran Q-C drummer for the past 40 years. Together, they've created a new power trio infusing melody and contemporary lyrics into traditional blues.

"This group combines my love of Freddie King, Stevie Ray and so many other blues guitar greats, with songs from my life in the Quad-Cities and back west," Rigsby said.

7:30 p.m.

Phineas J's

The Phineas J's are a 4 member blues band launched in 2011 that play the entire genre of blues music, along with a little funk, soul, and some rock when necessary. Keyboardist and lead singer Jon Yelm, guitarist Brad Surber, and drummer Rich Bruning all hail from the Galesburg area, while bass guitarist Bob Louis has been a Quadcitian for the last 11 years. Brad, Jon and Rich played together in a few Galesburg based bands in the early days, while Brad and Bob joined up originally in the High Cotton Blues Band before bringing on Jon in 2012 and Rich in 2013. We like to play cover songs that you rarely hear played live, but everyone loves to hear, plus a few originals as well. Our best paycheck is room full of smiles in a bar close to the Mississippi after laying down a great set - what can I say, we just love playing the blues!

8:15 p.m.

The Harris Collection

The Harris Collection is a blues-rock group based out of Davenport, IA. Originally formed in 2009 between Harris brothers Shawn and Steve, the line presently has added L.C. Johnson on drums and Johnny Pena on bass.

T.H.C. has been performing at bars, private parties, and festivals since 2010.The group is known for performing powerful versions of classic blues covers and new original material as well. Band members are heavily influenced by many blues legends such as Muddy Waters, Junior Wells, and Howlin' Wolf. More specifically, influenced by dominating guitarists such as Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, and B.B.King. It's evident that psychedelic rock has also made an impact on the groups sound. Johnson a veteran has played behind legends such as Gloria Hadriman, Ray Goodma & Brown, Bobby Womack, The Dells and many others. Other members have had the opportunity to jam with legendary bluesmen including Billy Branch, Bernard Allison, and Chainsaw Dupont. The Harris Collection has been very successful in attracting younger fans to the great American art form called the Blues. The band continues to gain new fans daily and is currently #1 on Reverbnation.com blues charts for the Quad Cities area. To date, The Harris Collection has been booked recording artists such as The Giving Tree Band, the Kris Lager Band, and Gloria Hardiman.


DamonFowler_byTracyMayAfter playing at the 2013 Mississippi Valley Blues Festival with the supergroup Southern Hospitality, guitarist Damon Fowler is returning to the Quad-Cities. The Mississippi Valley Blues Society proudly brings back to the area Damon Fowler on Sunday, April 6 at the Muddy Waters, 1708 State Street, Bettendorf, IA. The show starts at 6:00 p.m. Admission is $7 for Mississippi Valley Blues Society members, or $10 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 2008'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 by... to 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."

After spending much of the past year touring with the band Southern Hospitality, Damon Fowler is back with his third solo project for Blind Pig Records, Sounds of Home. Damon chose swamp blues master Tab Benoit to produce and record him at Tab's rural Louisiana home studio, and their collaboration has resulted in Damon's strongest effort to date. The tension between his measured, laid-back vocal delivery and the hallmark intensity of his guitar virtuosity has never been keener.


ryan mcgarveyThe Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents guitar slinger Ryan McGarvey at the Muddy Waters (1708 State Street, Bettendorf IA) on Tuesday March 25. The show begins at 7:00 p.m. Admission is $10, $7 for Mississippi Valley Blues Society members.

Ryan McGarvey is an up-and-coming blues star. Guitar Center named Ryan "Guitarmaggeddon: Next King of the Blues" champion of New Mexico in 2006. Then, Eric Clapton chose Ryan from over 4,000 international artists to perform at Clapton's 2010 Crossroads Guitar Festival in Chicago. In 2011 Ryan and his band played the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival. And just last year, Ryan was named Best New Talent in Guitar Player Magazine.

Ryan McGarvey has in a relatively short amount of time not only gained an international fan base, but admiration from his personal idols as well. In the past few years of Ryan's career he has shared the bill with such top name acts as Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, B.B. King, Joe Bonamassa, Gov't Mule, and many, many more. His debut CD release, Forward In Reverse, reached the top 20 (out of over 200,000 artists' CDs) on the best sellers list on CDBaby.com, the world's largest online independent distributor.

With rave reviews complimenting everything from his fiery guitar chops (which range from Delta blues slide to heavy rock chords) to his unique vocals or mature songwriting skills, Ryan McGarvey's live shows are legendary, leaving audiences breathless and wanting more.


Scottie Miller, photo by Glenn CotabishThe MVBS is guessing that by three days before Christmas, most blues fans will have had their fill of sleigh bells, lords a-leaping, wassailing, figgy pudding and chestnuts roasting on an open fire, and might be ready to trade all that red-and-green for something more, well, blues. After several missed opportunities, the Events Committee finally managed to book the Scottie Miller Band into Martinis just about a year ago, and that performance impressed the Entertainment Committee enough to earn Scottie a slot in the Tent at last year's BluesFest. We decided to try and keep the ball rolling by getting him back again, this time at The Muddy Waters (1708 State Street, Bettendorf) on Sunday December 22. Showtime is 6:00 p.m., and admission is $7 for MVBS members and $10 for non-members.

Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame inductee Scottie Miller started out on keys with fellow Minnesotan Big John Dickerson and Blue Chamber, and played with the legendary Bo Diddley. He now tours with fellow Blues Fest musician Ruthie Foster when he's not out with his own band, with which he's released seven CDs since 2001.

With an eclectic sound that is perhaps best described as "Dr. John meets The Band at Bruce Springsteen's house," the Scottie Miller Band's book ranges from blues to soul to funk and jazz, and they've got Dr. John's funky New Orleans groove down tight, especially considering they're from the "wrong" end of the Mississippi River. They've even been known to occasionally offer their audience a sampling of amazingly intricate Latin rhythms, as was evidenced at their show a year ago. When the question arose as to why a "blues" band would play Latin jazz, the best answer I heard was "Because they can." Frankly, a lot of bands haven't developed that level of proficiency and tightness, but one might suppose that's just what happens when the same band members play together for thirteen years.

So if you've seen these guys before, you know what we're in for, and if you blew your chance the last two times, hey, the third time's a charm, right?

-- Shufflin' Gee, Senior Live Music Correspondent


anni piper - denise o'haraThe Mississippi Valley Blues Society is pleased to present award-winning Australian singer/bass player, Anni Piper and her band at On the Rock Bar and Grill, 4619 34th Street, Rock Island, IL on Wednesday, February 19. Anni and her band will start the show at 7:00 p.m. Admission is $7 for MVBS members/$10 for non-members (membership applications will be available at the door).

From the time that Anni Piper heard Paul Butterfield Blues Band playing "Born in Chicago", she knew that blues was the musical direction she wanted to take. That was at the age of 14, and by the time she was 19 years old, Anni had completed a Bachelor of Arts (Contemporary Music) at Southern Cross University, Lismore NSW, and was on her way to an award winning career in music.

Anni recorded her first CD in 2004 and the album was an immediate success, winning the category of "Best New Talent" at the Australian Blues Music Awards. Her vocals were recorded on numerous CDs after that, but it wasn't long before she developed an affinity for the bass guitar, preferring to lay down a groove rather than scream out a solo.

Anni's musical ability and strong focus have since earned her many achievements, which include a nomination as a top five finalist in the 2010 Musicoz Awards in the Blues/Roots category, as well as finalist in the 2009 APRA Professional Development Awards. Anni was also a finalist for "Best Female Vocal" at the 2008 Australian Blues Music Awards and received a nomination for the "Rudy Brandsma" award at the 2007 Australian National Songwriting Contest.

The MVBS is proud to present this talented young performer from Down Under. We hope you'll join us at On the Rock, to see her perform live.


Joanne Shaw TaylorUK guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Joanne Shaw Taylor is currently touring the US and will be making a stop at The Muddy Waters, 1708 State Street, Bettendorf, IA on Friday, November 15. This exceptional show is being presented by The Mississippi Valley Blues Society, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating the general public about the native art form of blues-related music through performance, interpretation and preservation. Joanne's performance will start at 9:00 p.m. with a $15 cover charge, or $12 for members of the Mississippi Valley Blues Society.

When Joanne Shaw Taylor was called to the Buckingham Palace stage by Annie Lennox, 17 million viewers were asking "who's that girl?" She was an unintimidated 16-year-old, played a savage Les Paul solo, and brought an attitude that indicated she was going to be a star. Soon enough, the buzz built and the new-girl-on-the-block soon became the "Best British Female Vocalist" at both the 2010 and 2011 British Blues Awards.

Joanne never imagined any of that at the start. She was just a country schoolgirl, bored with the music she heard on late-'90s pop radio, and decided to drop out of school and try her fate in the music industry. As destiny would have it, her demo tape landed in the hands of Eurythmics icon Dave Stewart. Stewart recalls that "she made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end", and his phone call the following day proved the start of a lasting friendship. Joanne accompanied Stewart's supergroup across Europe in 2002.

Stewart offered Joanne her first deal, and once the dam broke, things moved fast. In 2008, she was working with veteran producer Jim Gaines (Carlos Santana, Johnny Lang, Stevie Ray Vaughan), bassist Dave Smith, and drummer Steve Potts on the songs that became her debut album, White Sugar. Since then, she's broken into the notoriously hard-to-crack US market, beaten the stereotypes of her age and gender, and won the respect of the guitar giants of today.

"There are a lot of great guitarists and singers in the blues today," says Joe Bonamassa. "What I see in Joanne Shaw Taylor that sets her apart from the rest is the ability to write a great song. Not only is she a killer guitarist and singer, but you find yourself walking away from her shows singing her songs as well."


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