Blues festival to be held

MARIETTA – The 22nd annual River City Ohio Blues Festival will March 15 and 16 in the Lafayette Hotel at 101 Front Street in downtown Marietta.

The event is organized and hosted by the Blues, Jazz and Folk Music Society of Marietta. Weekend passes for all events are $50 for BJFMS members and $70 for non-members. Tickets to individual shows are $15 for members and $25 for non-members each for the Friday night and Saturday matinee shows. Tickets for the Saturday night show are $20 for members and $30 for non-members.

For passes, tickets or information, call John or Peggy Bolen at (740) 376-0222 (evenings), or email or call Mary Ann Osborne at 304-422-2944.

The schedule of events for the festival includes:

MARCH 15 – Friday Night

* 8 p.m.: The Michael Gough Group (Second place winners in February’s River City Blues Competition in Marietta)

* 9:30 p.m.: Chicago Rhythm & Blues Kings (six-piece horn-driven Blues band from Chicago)

MARCH 16 – Saturday Afternoon

* Noon: Blues In The Schools Band “High Schools that Rock”

* 1:30 p.m.: Chris Sutton (First Place winner of February’s River City Blues Competition in Marietta)

* 2 p.m.: Rocky Lawrence (blues solo artist)

* 3:30 p.m.: Jake Leg Stompers (six-piece band from Tennesse)

MARCH 16 – Saturday Night

* 8 p.m.: Eddie Shaw & The Wolf Gang (four piece band from Chicago)

* 9:30 p.m.: Announcement of Guitar Raffle winner

* 9:45 p.m.: Zac Harmon (Contemporary blues)

The Blues, Jazz and Folk Music Society Inc. and its projects are funded, in part, by grants from The Ohio Arts Council, a state agency that supports public programs in the arts, and by The Ohio River Border Initiative (ORBI), a joint project of The Ohio Arts Council and the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

Opening this year’s festival will be The Michael Gough Group, which was the top group and overall second-place winner at February’s annual River City Ohio Blues Competition in Marietta, which always occurs one month before the annual blues festival.

Friday night’s entertainment will also include the group Chicago Rhythm and Blues Kings, a six-piece horn-driven blues band from Chicago.

The Chicago Rhythm & Blues Kings have been performing since 1993, and before that were part of the Mellow Fellows. The group features tenor saxman Terry Ogolini, trumpeter Don Tenuto, bassist Bob Halaj, guitarist David Mick, drummer Willie Hayes and vocalist/saxophonist Gene Barge.

Saturday’s performances will open with a performance by local music students, followed by the winner of the River City Ohio Blues Competition, solo blues artist Chris Sutton.

In addition to performing at the festival, the Sutton represent the BJFM at the International Blues Challenge early next year.

Rocky Lawrence will take the stage Saturday afternoon, filling the festival’s traditional afternoon acoustic slot. Lawrence is known for his Robert Johnson-influenced roots blues performing. For several years, he has played with “Honeyboy” Edwards, perhaps the last surviving Robert Johnson-era bluesman.

The final afternoon performer will be The Jake Leg Stompers.

The group was formed in 2004 in the jug band style of the 1920s and 1930s. The group recorded its first CD, “Guaranteed Absolutely Pure” for Hoodoo Records, in the summer of 2005. In their live shows, the Jake Leg Stompers present Pre-War Roots Music on period instruments in lively, authentic styles. The Stompers capture the rebellious spirit of pre-1941 American music from Memphis Jug bands to Appalachian Hillbilly to Fats Waller.

The first Saturday night performance will feature Eddie Shaw and the Wolf Gang. The Chicaga blues band was the original backup band for the legendary Howlin’ Wolf until his death in 1975. Since then, the band has performed in virtually every state in the U.S. and in over a dozen foreign countries. The final performance of the blues festival will feature Zac Harmon.

Harmon worked in composing and performing music for movie scores before returning to his blues roots in 2002 with his first live album. In 2004, he won the International Blues Challenge award for Best Unsigned Band with his then-group the Mid South Blues Revue. He has released various CDS and been recognized by various blues organizations over the past several years.