Now in it’s 11th year, the Maine Blues Festival celebrates America’s True Original Music “The Blues” by featuring Maine Blues Musicians with 50 bands on 10 stages this weekend, all weekend long, June 16, June 17, and June 18 in Naples, Maine. Here are the bands performing, at various venues, in this year’s Maine Blues Festival:
Annmarie Smith has been carving out her niche in the Northern New England music scene since 1997. Her pleasingly eclectic style is built on her unique vocals, subtle finger picking, and uncanny slide guitar licks. In addition to her original material, she mines the rich history of the blues ranging from early roots through today’s artists, making them all unmistakably her own.
Beam and Fink
Gravelly vocals, melodic harmonica and thumping guitar make for simple, soulful acoustic music. Mike Beam and Jeremy Fink play a stripped-down and lighthearted brand of country blues. Their mix of unique songs from the genre’s rich history, and vintage-style originals, reveal an appreciation and enthusiasm for the roots of American music.
Bellamy Jazz Band
The Bellamy Jazz Band plays a loose, jammin’ Chicago-style jazz ranging from Preservation Hall to prehistoric swing, jazz ballads, dance hall tunes, and just a suggestion that they have heard the rock and roll. Together for over 28 years, they play New Orleans and Chicago Jazz and swing with a wild vitality and loving irreverence. A Maine favorite, this eight piece band has won popularity awards eight years in a row.
Big G and the Rhino
Glen “Big G” Rogers, Gary “Rhino” Searles and Matt “The Bass” Cornell combine their passion for music to bring traditional and contemporary blues to the ears of friends and fans from Maine and elsewhere. Keeping the tradition alive, they add their own spices to make it something a little different.
Black Cat Road BlackCatRoad.com
Funky, soulful, emotional, rootsy blues and more. The powerful voice of Jessica Moore Hines (Jessie Mae) whips the band into a frenzy and slaughters the audience. Comprised of blues veterans Steve “The Iceman” Bailey on guitar, Kate Seavey on bass, Don Reed on keys, and Kenny Chapman on drums.They tell corny jokes between tunes and dance about while playing, rarely with grace, but always with enthusiasm. Some venues actually call them back to play AGAIN…for money!!! They’re THAT good!! Black Cat Road makes hips shake and jaws drop.
Blue Steel Express kevinkimball.com
This year the ‘Express will again include several special guests in a wide-ranging “blues revue” showcase! Formed in 1993, the ‘Express is comprised of MBF Co-Founder Kevin Kimball, Deb Danuski, Bub Lynch, Jim Palmer, Mike Vaughan, Ralph Thompson and Mike Wingfield. The band features tight arrangements of blues standards, Brit-blues and original material built around Deb’s vocals, Kevin’s slide playing, and classy presentation.
Blue Velvet Moon
Old songs with a new touch. This band was put together by Nelson Bellarose, the drummer for the band. Amy Jensen on lead vocals and guitar was found playing at an open mic and quickly added to the band. Jeff Wright on harmonica and vocals, and keepin’ a steady beat on bass is Foris Williams, long-time friend and bandmate of Nelson Bellarose.
The Blueshounds are are a favorite in the Lakes Region, having made regular appearances at Bray’s Brewpub and other area venues for many years. A Maine band, they start with the blues, but blend in some smokin’ blues/rock and country/rock as well. They feature tight arrangements of modern blues and surprising interpretations of classic blues. For this band and their fans, it’s all about that fun, so be warned that the Blues Hounds personify the idea of a “Blues Party!”
Blues In The Works
What do you get when you team up three BIW workers with three other seasoned musician? Blues In the Works! With a triple-threat guitar section, this group has an “in your face” style. The line-up features Sue Beauchenes lead vocalist; Pat Hynes, guitar & lead vocals; Mark Pendelton, sax; Ed Eldredge, guitar & vocals; Jim Palmer, bass & vocals and Larry Beauchenes on drums.
The Blues Prophets facebook.com/BluesProphets
The Blues Prophets began as the New England Blues Prophets in 1976. Today, Doug Wainoris continues making great guitar sounds with an earthy vocal style; Jamie “Jake” Isaacson plays some of the best blues piano around. Drummer Jeff Davison, along with with solid bassman Jack Tukey, create an effervescent pocket to carry the groove. Harmonica marvel David “DW” Gill has penned and vocalized many respectable blues tunes. Don’t miss this one.
Brad Hooper www.BradHooper.net
Brad Hooper is a two-time Maine Songwriters Contest finalist, Portland Phoenix Best Blues vocalist nominee and full-time working musician. (He learned how to play guitar last Tuesday at 4 p.m.) Hooper maintains a solid performance schedule of hundreds of professional shows each year and has earned the respect of his fans, friends and contemporary peers. Hooper, a Maine Blues Festival committee member, spends countless hours helping to keep the blues alive in Maine. Hooper will be performing this year as part of the Ball Brothers Band.
The British Yankees put on a dynamic show which chronicles the history of British blues throughout the 60’s…how it arrived in England and how it developed and was ultimately brought back to the States by people such as Clapton, Beck, Mayall, Fleetwood Mac, Cream, Yardbirds, etc. frontman, Vernon Northover, guitar and vocals, played in blues bands in the UK during this period and experienced the metamorphosis first hand.
Bruce Marshall brucemarshall.net
Bruce Marshall’s music career spans six decades and over eight thousand shows including appearances with over 200 national acts. Known equally well for his riveting band shows with the Bruce Marshall Group and his soulful, heart-felt solo performances, he’s also half of the Montgomery and Marshall acoustic duo with bluesman James Montgomery. A tireless performer armed with great originals, an expressive, soulful voice and a commanding guitar style, on electric, acoustic and steel dobro, he’s earned a reputation as one of New England’s best.
Colwell Brothers soul-sensations.com
Former Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, Pat Colwell, rips it up on guitar and vocals, while Bob Colwell brings down the house with his New Orleans flavored piano work and vocals extraordinaire. With a combined total of over 50 years in the business The Colwell Brothers and their band of veteran studio musicians mean business. A must see every year.
Matt Foster and Randy Visser will once again find their favorite curbs along the bustling streets of Naples during the fest. Both men love the intimate story telling opportunities of street busking. Call out a favorite tune or join in for some group harmonizing. Tell them your favorite blues tales and they’ll break into the perfect soundtrack. If it’s blues…they’ll play it, or let you experience your own inner busker.
Dave Mello davemelloblues.com
Dave Mello has been performing professionally for over forty years including tours in the 1970’s with Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, and the Staples Singers. His unique style of acoustic blues is marked by meticulous guitar work matched with spot-on passionate vocals.
Delta Knights – deltaknights.com
The Delta Knights were one of the first bands to represent the State of Maine in the International Blues Challenge in 1996. Led by founder Rob Babson and propelled by legendary blues drummer Larry Peterson, the ‘Knights’ are one of the most sought-after bands in the state.
Denny Breau – dennybreau.com
Legendary guitar master Denny Breau is the gold-standard by which other guitarists measure themselves. Yeah, he’s that good. His recording credits include numerous appearances on albums by national blues acts, and is one of the most in-demand guitar teachers in the state. Once again, Denny offers a live performance that is a must-see for musicians and blues fans alike.
Double Entendre is Jeff Levesque and Cheryl Mercer. Cheryl is the featured vocalist and has over 25 years experience in musical theatre and studio recording in Memphis and Nashville in various genres. Jeff is the multi-instrumentalist and is from Greene, Maine. His background includes years of studio and stage work in Los Angeles.
Downeast Soul Coalition – facebook.com/downeastsoulcoalition
Downeast Soul Coalition is a high energy, groove-driven blend of Blues, R&B, Soul and Funk. Formed in 2012, DSC is anchored by bassist/frontman Scott Morrison and features Guitarist Nelson Nadeau, saxophonist Kate Campbell Strauss, Michelle Kingston on horns, keyboardist Mike Vaughan and drummer Nancy Durham. This band will grab you by the ears, break you a sweat and groove ya’ crazy!
Dr. Dann and the Off Mission Blues Band
Dr. Dann and The Off Mission Blues Band have played together for two decades at local venues in both Maine and New Hampshire. They are well-known for their blend of classic blues and rock which includes BB King, Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and Buddy Guy among others. The band uses its hard-driving, heartfelt expression to ignite instruments and listeners alike into a blues frenzy.
Ed and Barry
Ed Murphy was bitten by the blues bug after hearing his first Leadbelly record and then going to hear Dave VanRonk play at the Gaslight Cafe in Greenwich Village. Fifty years later he continues his love affair with early twentieth century roots music. Playing 12-string guitar and 6-string slide guitar in a personal style that is based on listening to his musical heroes. Barry Dumper is a deep-blues vintage finger-style picker who keeps the pre-war acoustic blues tradition alive, covering material from Charlie Patton to JJ Cale, and offering well-crafted originals.
Jason Simonds and the Wicked Blues Band facebook.com/WickedBluesBand
Wicked Blues Band was formed in 2012 by Jason Simonds. After a two year run of gigging, the original band dissolved at the end of 2014. Jason spent most of 2015 working on songwriting and has phoenixed the Wicked Band with new members and many new original songs. Wicked will be recording their gig at Rick’s Cafe and they invite as many as can fit in the room to share the experience with them.
jc and the ACES – jeffchristiansenmusic.com
With jc, it’s all about a great song, special delivery, direct to you. The ACES cover a lot of roots music territory: urban blues, country blues, smooth blues, rough blues, blues that tells a story. Throw in some swing, R&B and soul and that’s a recipe that all hopped up. It’s the real deal. And if you think we’re foolin’, you’re gonna get a schoolin’! Along with jc (Jeff Christiansen) on vocal and guitar are: Marion Walsh, vocals, Bruce Couillard on sax, Al Obler on bass and Steve Forrest Hamblen on drums, its all ACES!
The JLD Project5 plays a collaboration of originals that range from old-school blues to 70’s blues/rock and features a great range of vocals and cool grooves. Band members include Tom Dube, electric guitar and vocals; Pete Ladd, acoustic guitar and vocals; David Hodgkins, bass; Mike Hall, acoustic guitar; and Dennis Buzzell on drums.
Johnny and the Blues Dogz
Johnny Rousseau and his Blues Dogs are ready to tear it up. JR’s powerful raunchy harp playing is the perfect compliment to his vocals, and he delivers every story with passion. His long time sidekick, Greg Soper (Rogue Pogies, L.M. and the Tropical Depression), delivers great guitar licks from the soul. This year, they are backed by the great rhythm duo of Krister Rollins and Bub Lynch. You can expect to see a guest player, too! Chicago-style blues, west coast swing, and some solid blues/rock will keep your feet moving all night. Watch out, the enthusiasm is contagious!!!
Juke Joint Devils
The Juke Joint Devils are an “Old School” jump and swing blues band whose musical style draws heavily from Chicago, Memphis and New Orleans blues music of the 1950’s and also from the more modern “West Coast” style of today. Founding member Tommy O’Connell, vocals and blues harp, was a finalist in the 2011 International Blues Challenge. He is backed up by the smoking dual guitarists Stefan Iris and George Stamboulis, Sean Bowman on upright bass and blues veteran Mike Murphy on drums.
Justin Lindsay and Bunk
Justin Lindsay and Bunk plays a high-energy, rootsy mix, with a focus on Chicago blues. Justin is a 15-year old guitar whiz who started appearing at the MBF and NABF, playing with seasoned pros, when he was 11. The band features Thom Hanes, harp and vocals, along with the hard-hitting rhythm section of Eric Sawyer and Steve Pisani.
Larry Peterson Blues Project
With 54 years behind the kit, Larry Peterson has seen and done it all. Originally from Norfolk, Virginia, he has toured or played with some of the finest acts in the country including Wilson Williams and The Platters, Bo Diddley and Tab Benoit. The band includes Jerry Smith, guitar; Todd Corey, bass; and John Donahue, sax.
LC Williams and the Driver
LC Williams and the Driver, formerly Blood Orange Martinis, are a hard-driving blues group with a uniquely old-school sound. Comprised of Trent Souder on guitar, vocals and occasionally foot snare; Lauren Williams on harp and vocals; Phil Pitula on bass and vocals; and a rotating ensemble of talented rhythm players; they are groove-oriented and always willing to follow an improvisational thread. Reminiscent of early Chicago-style bands, their sound is spare but dynamic and captures the attention of real blues lovers whenever they take the stage.
Liz Lannon Blues Band
After twenty years on the New England blues circuit, with seven albums to her credit, Liz Lannon remains one of the premier local talents. Liz has recently relocated to Southern Maine and has been playing such venues as the former Midnight Blues clubs in Auburn and Waterville, and McSeagull’s in Boothbay, among others. The band is primarily influenced by the Chicago blues but rockabilly, jazz and sixties-soul influences are infused in the repertoire.
LRHS Skazz Kats & Blues Band
The Lake Region High School SkazzKats are a blend of serious concert and jazz students at Lake Region High School. Led by Band Director, Paul Greenstone, their repertoire consists of jazz standards, blues, and Ska classics, with a little rock thrown in. They have performed at the Cumberland County Civic Center, at the Portland Expo, the United States Coast Guard Academy, and Downtown Crossing in Boston. After a busy year, the LRHS SkazzCats are proud to be appearing at their 5th Maine Blues Festival.
Lunch Pail and Fred Trout
With fred Trout on piano and Lunch psil Jere on harmonica and washboard,these guys play everything from Jelly Roll Morton to Big Joe Williams with a lot of side-trips along the way. Both fred and Jere are long-time members of the Wicked Good Band so be prepared for their slant on the local Maine blues scene. Leave your sad rags at home because it’s much better to sing the blues than to have the blues.
Luther James and the River Kings
Luther James is the traditional “starting pitcher” for the Maine Blues Festival. He’s a master luthier (that’s a “guitar-maker”), custom blues harp microphone designer, and longtime blues jam host. When he performs at the Festival he steps out with his own distinctive brand of “slow burn” electric blues.
Maine native singer/songwriter/indie artist Mary Murphy sings from her soul to yours, accompanying herself on piano, blues harp and at times guitar and other instruments from Maine to South Carolina. She performs originals, covers select blues artists, and stylizes songs of other genres by weaving a web of jazzy blues around them.
Matt and the Barnburners mattandthebarnburners.com
Matt & the Barnburners are a two-time winner of the Maine Blues Society’s statewide “Road to Memphis Competition” and a longtime fixture of the Maine Blues Scene. Frontman Matt Bilodeau, on harp and vocals, delivers unbridled passion and energy, along with a sincere commitment to the blues that is irresistible. Matt & the Barnburners delivers a high-energy mix of all your favorite blues classics with a unique and tasteful twist.
Maxwell Street members met each other at a blues jam. After spending many Saturday afternoons playing for fun in a heated garage, BOOM, out came a blues band. A solid group with a Chicago West Side blues feel, genuine, authentic and gritty.
Soaring high above the status quo, Memphis Lightning brings an electrifying and exciting take on America roots music. The band features Grammy- nominated drummer Darren “Big Red” Thiboutot, Maine Blues Society “Road to Memphis” winner bassist Rick “Slow Driver” McLennan, and Darren “LD” Thiboutot Jr. on guitar. So get on board with Memphis Lightning – they’re a force to be reckoned with!
Migley and Tripp
Get ready for some finger-style guitar playing, mandolin riffing and syncopation to get your Bluesfest partying off to a good start. These guys are purveyors of old-time country blues. Kevin brings vocals, National and acoustic guitars to the group. Jeff Tripp plays mandolin, guitar and fiddle. Jay Conway is resident harmonica player and Mark Cousins will be rounding out the group on drums and percussion.
Mike Hayward’s Blue Lions
Hard hitting Texas electric blues delivered with a brass knuckle guitar tone at full throttle with powerful tenor sax in the mix, original songs plus blues by Freddie King, T-Bone Walker, Bobby Bland, Johnny Guitar Watson and Guitar Slim.
Mike Schools Band
The Mike Schools Band, featuring Victor Montez Jr., is a collaborative effort to bring quality, high-spirited, dynamic blues to the public. With influences ranging from Freddy King, to Stevie Ray Vaughn, to the late great BB King, it’s always something special when Mike and Victor put their heads, hearts and strats together. Backed by an all-star rhythm section. Come join us.
Featuring Cameron Lambert on electric dobro, Mumbling Blues, is bringing the next gen fuse while keeping it old-school. A new, young band, ready to keep the blues rolling.
New Blues Revue
New Blues Revue is the traditional host of the MBF All-Star Jam. Led by Jerry Smith on guitar and vocals, the New Blues Revue also features seasoned pros Todd Corey, Krister Rollins, John Donahue and Larry Peterson. Together this crew will set the stage for the best part of the night: The Eleventh Annual All-Star Blues Jam at Bray’s Brewpub.
Poke Chop and the Other White Meats poke-chop.com
After a 10 year run in the State of Maine, bandleader, harmonicat, vocalist, and lead guitarist extraordinaire Ron Gill (a.k.a. “Poke Chop”) is taking his act on the road and is making his last appearance at the Maine Blues Festival. He has been playing music around the country for forty years now, working with a rock-solid rhythm section comprised of blues veterans groovin’ harpcat Thom “The Hurricane” Hanes, Marty Lynch on bass, Marc Perez on drums. This outfit lays down a groove that hasn’t been heard since the last time the Bush Doctor was conjuring up a potent gris-gris down on the bayou! This will be one hot set of smokin’ blues. By the way, once upon a time the Blues boarded a riverboat down in New Orleans…
Poor Howard & Bullfrog
“Poor Howard” Stith has been performing 12-string barrelhouse blues for over thirty years across the U.S., Europe and Japan, entertaining audiences with his dazzling guitar, heartfelt voice, and an endless supply of anecdotes. He has shared the stage with such notable blues performers as John Jackson, Archie Edwards and Peg Leg Sam. Mike “Bullfrog” Rogers is a forty year veteran whose styles range from folk to blues. Mike has opened for such performers as John Hammond, Luther “Guitar” Johnson and Emmie Lou Harris, and has appeared on over thirty CDs.
Preservation Blues Band preservationbluesband.com
Preservation Blues Band performs blues originals and classics from Howlin’ Wolf, Lightnin’ Hopkins, John Lee Hooker and others. Peter Michelini’s expressive guitar style showcases a wide range of blues sounds from the Delta to Kansas City to Chicago. Steve Brown is known for his soulful piano and Hammond organ sound developed through many years of performance; Chris Penney has been bringing his driving bass sound to the Maine music scene for the past twenty years and Rusty Beckett is a one-man groove factory holding down the band’s back-beat.
Ragged Jack facebook.com/Raggedrockabilly
High energy roots rockabilly trio Ragged Jack has been burning up Maine stages for over three years with their tight old-school sound and on-stage acrobats. The world-class guitar wizardry of Corrie Bonnevie, upright bass and yodeling of Holly Marie and the solid grooves of Maine blues scene veteran drummer Tom “The H-Bomb” Hines are sure to drive the excitement to the stratosphere.
Just like a good old house with good bones, they’re still around, seven albums later and are still rockin’ and writing fun, funky, topical, bluesy tunes. Songs about the power of love and the power of money. Songs asking for truth and others critical of the wacky political scene. But there’s also songs about kids and family, good ole girls and going fishing for the big one.
Trailer Trash pauldubeentertainment.com
Over the years, Trailer Trash has developed faithful following for their own unique sound and showmanship; their performances are reminiscent of the raw energy of a roadhouse band of another era. A well-oiled combination featuring award-winning guitarist Paul Dube, Ellen Lindsey on upright bass, Eric Grenier on blues harp, and newest member Bob Rosenbaum on lead guitar. Trailer Trash combines high-caliber music craft and sly humor so that their audiences can almost see the chicken-wire!
Radio and television personality Mark Persky will be Master Of Ceremonies. Persky
remains quite arguably the most recognizable voice in Maine broadcast media and is a passionate devotee of the blues. He has been with the Festival since its inception in 2006, and also serves as the MBF Official Spokesperson. After many years entertaining on radio and television, he continues to deejay weddings, reunions, and birthdays. His website, has won the coveted Cheap Website Award several years in a row.
A festival in beautiful Naples Maine celebrating the blues musicians of Maine. Come join us for a wonderful weekend of music, food, shopping and dancing. Stay in our local motels or B&B’s and rent watercrafts, swim or golf.
Blues buses will transport you from venue to venue on scheduled routes! “For Hire” Taxi service is also available.
The purpose of The Maine Blues Festival is to promote blues music as a uniquely American idiom and art form, to facilitate prominent, high visibilty performance opportunities for as many Maine-based blues artists as possible before as large an aggregate audience as possible, and to support education programs in Maine public schools and colleges. The Maine Blues Festival operates from the belief that “local business is good business, local art is good art” and is a concrete example of “the creative economy in Maine.”
For more information about bands, times, and venues, please visit: