Blues festival weekend

Times file photo Jason Marquez with bass player Jeremiah Kidd performs on stage during the 25th annual River City Blues Competition at the Lafayette Hotel in February.

From staff reports

Some of the top regional and national blues acts in the country will be performing at the 26th annual River City Blues Festival on Friday and Saturday in downtown Marietta.

The two-day event will be held at the Lafayette Hotel at 101 Front St. in Marietta and is being sponsored by the Blues, Jazz and Folk Music Society of Marietta.

Weekend pass to all events are $70 for BJFM members and $85 for non-members. Tickets are $25 for members and $30 for non-members for Friday night, $25 for members and $30 for non-members for Saturday matinee and $25 for members and $30 for non-members for Saturday night.

Tickets and information are available by calling Helen Holt at 304-615-7997 or Peggy Bolen at 740-376-0222.

This year’s performers include Kara Grainger, Dwayne Dopsie and The Zydeco Hell Raisers, Studebaker John, John Primer and the Real Deal Blues Band, John Nemeth and Samantha Fish.

As a precursor to this year’s Blues Festival, the BJFM is working with Peoples Bank Theatre to present a concert by multi-Grammy winning musician Delbert McClinton at 8 p.m. today at the theatre at 222 Putnam St. in downtown Marietta.

Tickets are $26-$38 and available by calling 740-371-5152 or online at peoplesbanktheatre.com. The opening act will be Sadie Johnson.

The 2017 River City Blues Festival performers include:

¯ Kara Grainger is an Australian singer songwriter and guitarist. In 2008, she signed to the Australian label “Craving Records” and was invited to the U.S. by producer David Kalish where she recorded her debut solo album. The recording entitled “Grand and Green River” received critical acclaim and remained in the top 30 of the Americana Charts for 38 straight weeks.

Since then Grainger has made two more albums while residing in the U.S. In 2011 “LA Blues” was recorded live at Studio City Sound. In 2013, she recorded and released “Shiver and Sigh” through Los Angeles record label “Eclecto Groove.” She has performed around the country and around the world over the past several years.

¯ Dwayne (Dopsie) Rubin hails from one of the most influential Zydeco families in the world. Although inspired by tradition, he has developed his own high energy style that defies existing stereotypes to blaze a path for 21st century Zydeco music. A singer/songwriter and accordionist, he has performed all over the world since debuting his band, Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers, at age 19. The band also includes bits of rhythm and blues, funk, rock and roll, reggae and pop in its performances.

¯ Studebaker John Grimaldi was born in an Italian-American section of Chicago and started playing harmonica at age 7. Under the spell of music he heard on Maxwell Street, Chicago’s famed blues melting pot, Grimaldi began performing as Studebaker John and the Hawks in the 1970s and has continued performing through the years. As a songwriter and musician, Studebaker John has emerged as a major creative force in the world of the blues today

¯ John Primer has helped build the sound and style of Chicago blues as it is known today from his beginnings in the 1970s, working with blues greats like Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Magic Slim and others. In 1995, he ventured out on his own as a veteran bluesman and released his solo major label debut. Since that time he’s released or been recorded on more than a dozen albums and toured extensively all over the world. He has two Grammy nominations and two Living Legend honors as well as a Blues Music Award for Best Traditional Blues Artist from the National Blues Foundation and many more.

¯ John Nemeth got his start as a professional musician in 1991, playing pubs, taverns, joints and parties in his hometown of Boise, Idaho. He became an opening act and then recorded his first album in 2004. In early 2013, Nemeth moved to Memphis to continue his work in blues music.

¯ Samantha Fish grew up in Kansas City, switching from drums to guitar at the age of 15. She spent much of her time in local watering holes listening to visiting blues bands before catching the attention of Ruf Records. The label subsequently released her album, Girls with Guitars, which found her co-billed with Cassie Taylor and Dani Wilde. That led to her forming her own trio and recording three more albums and earning an award for Best Artist Debut at the 2012 Blues Music Awards in Memphis.

Schedule for the

2017 River City

Blues Festival


¯ 8 p.m.: Kara Grainger

¯ 9:45 p.m.: Dwayne Dopsie and The Zydeco Hell Raisers


¯ 11 a.m.: Schools that Rock (local students supervised by Mark Doebrich) (free and open to the public)

¯ 1:30 p.m.: 2017 River City Blues Competition winners (Gough-Martin Blues Band of South Union, Ky.)

¯ 2:45 p.m.: Studebaker John

¯ 4:15 p.m.: John Primer and The Real Deal Blues Band

¯ 5:30 p.m.: Dinner break

¯ 8 p.m.: John Nemeth

¯ 9:45 p.m.: Samantha Fish


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