Monroe County's 26th Annual Black History Month Blues Series
The Monroe County Library System’s award-winning celebration of diversity, community spirit and the blues, “the roots of all American music,” marks its 26th year in February with a full schedule of free concerts for music fans of all ages.
What began in 1988 with Rev. Jones celebrating Black History Month with an educational, entertaining “musical lecture” at the Navarre Branch Library has grown into a nationally known, award-winning, month-long community collaboration. Tens of thousands of music fans of all ages have participated in free concerts, workshops and lectures. The project has garnered awards from the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, the Public and Michigan Library Associations, the Michigan Association of Community Arts Agencies and a Certificate of Special Tribute from the Office of the Governor of the State of Michigan. In 2009, The Blues Foundation presented the Blues Series with its prestigious Keeping the Blues Alive Award for Education.
“Tuesdays are Bluesdays” throughout the series as each Tuesday evening features a free concert at a Monroe County Library System facility.
Tuesday, February 5, Ellis Library & Reference Center – 7:00 pm
It’s “One for Johnnie Bassett” when the 2013 Blues Series begins with a special evening of music and memories dedicated to the late, great Detroit blues legend, Chris Codish, drummer Skeeto Valdez, guitarist George Bedard and bassist Pat Prouty. Before his death last year, Mr. Bassett’s career featured stints with acts from John Lee Hooker and Smokey Robinson & the Miracles and a number of critically acclaimed recordings. He received the Detroit Blues Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994 and took part in Monroe County’s Blues Series a number of times. 3700 S. Custer Rd. in Monroe, MI.
Tuesday, February 12, Carleton Branch Library – 7:00 pm
The Blues Series goes international when Canada’s top touring bluesman, guitar slinger JW-Jones, brings his power trio to Carleton. A hit on B.B. King’s Bluesville on Sirius-XM Radio, Jones has cut records from Hollywood to Sun Studios and prompted none other than the late Hubert Sumlin to say “JW’s got it down! So much soul, and nice material. You can’t beat it. I am telling the truth.” Jones is touring behind the release of his 7th record, aptly titled “Seventh Hour.” 1444 Kent Street in Carleton, MI.
Tuesday, February 19, Dorsch Memorial Branch Library – 7:00 pm
Florida native Damon Fowler, another rising star in the blues world, brings his hybrid of blues, roots rock and Sacred steel to downtown Monroe. Fowler, a master of the six- string, has also developed a powerful command of the lap-steel, dobro, and slide guitars, and continues to astound audiences at every performance. He’s worked with such acts as Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy, Johnny and Edgar Winter, Robin Trower, Gregg Allman, Jimmy Vaughan, Junior Brown, Rick Derringer, Little Feat, The Radiators, Chris Duarte, Delbert McClinton, and numerous others. 18 E. First St. in Monroe, MI.
THE BIG GIG! Monroe County’s 26th Annual Black History Month Blues Concert
Saturday, February 23, Monroe County Community College, La-Z-Boy Center, Meyer Theater – 7:00 pm sharp
It’s been called “a history lesson with a backbeat,” it’s Michigan’s longest-running annual blues celebration, and it’s ready to mark its 26th year with another once-in-a-lifetime lineup of faces both familiar and fresh. All the way from Colorado, it’s The Lionel Young Band. Young, a classically trained violinist, who’s worked with artists from Linda Ronstadt to Count Basie, from Living Colour to Robert Plant & Jimmy Page, leads his high-energy band through original tunes and unique interpretations. Young and his band are the blues world’s first (and, to date, only) winners of both Solo-Duo and Band International Blues Challenge crowns. John Latini and The Flying Latini Brothers with The Lovers & The Liars bring to life the Ypsilanti singer/songwriter’s honest, deeply Midwestern “real songs about real people,” in big band, roots rock style. Longtime attendees of The Big Gig! know Virginian Gaye Adegbalola best as one of the founding members of Saffire—The Uppity Blues Women, but she’s also a mother, a Blues Music Award winner and a former Virginia State Teacher of the Year. She now sees herself as a contemporary griot, keeping the history alive, delivering messages of empowerment, ministering to the heartbroken, and finding joy in the mundane.
And of course it wouldn’t be a Big Gig! without Rev. Robert B. Jones, who “was” the first Black History Month Blues Concert in 1988 and has become Detroit’s ambassador of roots music to the world, regularly performing at music and storytelling festivals. 1555 S. Raisinville Road in Monroe, MI.
The Big Gig! is an extremely popular event—no tickets are required, but seating is general admission, first-come, first-served, until venue capacity is reached. Doors open at 6:00 pm.
Tuesday, February 26, Bedford Branch Library – 7:00 pm
The Blues Series always tries to satisfy fans of both the boogie and the woogie, and everyone will be sated by Cincinnati piano pounder Ricky Nye. Winner of countless awards for his mastery of boogie-woogie, blues, stride and New Orleans piano styles, Nye also produces his own annual Blues & Boogie Piano Summit and performs at festivals around the world. 8575 Jackman Road in Temperance, MI.
For more information on Monroe County’s 26th Annual Black History Month Blues Series, phone the Library System at (734) 241-5277
Monroe County’s 26th Annual Black History Month Blues Series is presented by the Monroe County Library System and made possible with the generous support of the 2013 Blues Coalition of community co-sponsors: Monroe County Community College, DTE Energy Foundation, Friends of Bedford, Friends of Carleton, Friends of the Dorsch Memorial Branch Library, Friends of Ellis and the Detroit Blues Society. This activity is supported by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs Minigrant program, administered by the Arts Alliance.
If you experience any difficulties with this web page please contact the Library at: