THE CALIFORNIA HONEYDROPS
Led by dynamic vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Lech Wierzynski, and drawing on diverse musical influences from Bay Area R&B, funk, Southern soul, Delta blues, and New Orleans second-line, the California Honeydrops bring vibrant energy and infectious dance-party vibes to their shows. They’ve taken the party all over the world: on 9 European tours, featured slots at such premiere festivals as Monterey Jazz, High Sierra, and Outside Lands, and recent performances supporting B.B. King, Dr. John, Buddy Guy, and Allen Toussaint. Whether in those high-profile performances or in more intimate venues where the band itself can leave the stage and get down on the dance floor, the California Honeydrops’ shared vision and purpose remain: to make the audience dance and sing.
With Otis Taylor, it’s best to expect the unexpected. While his music, an amalgamation of roots styles in their rawest form, discusses heavyweight issues like murder, homelessness, tyranny, and injustice, his personal style is lighthearted. “I’m good at dark, but I’m not a particularly unhappy person,” he says. “I’d just like to make enough money to buy a Porsche.” Part of Taylor’s appeal is his contrasting character traits. But it is precisely this element of surprise that makes him one of the most compelling artists to emerge in recent years. In fact, Guitar Player magazine writes, “Otis Taylor is arguably the most relevant blues artist of our time.” Whether it’s his unique instrumentation (he fancies banjo and cello), or it’s the sudden sound of a female vocal, or a seemingly upbeat optimistic song takes a turn for the forlorn, what remains consistent is poignant storytelling based in truth and history. On his sixth CD, Double V, Taylor unleashes intimate tales as he produces an aural excursion inspired by an unconventional childhood.
RICK ESTRIN & THE NIGHTCATS
Once again Rick Estrin & The Nightcats are honored with multiple 2016 BMA nominations. The band is up for “Band Of The Year,” Kid Andersen is nominated in the “Best Guitarist” category, and Rick Estrin is up for “BB King Entertainer of the Year” and was nominated as the “2015 Best Harmonica Player.” Rick Estrin, according to The San Francisco Chronicle, “is an amazing harmonica player, a soulful lead vocalist and a brilliant songwriter.” The award-winning musician, another critic said, “sounds like Little Walter playing and singing Leiber and Stoller.” Along with The Nightcats – jaw-dropping guitarist Chris “Kid” Andersen, singing drummer J. Hansen (who plays standing up), and dynamic multi-instrumentalist Lorenzo Farrell (electric and acoustic bass, organ and piano) – Estrin serves up fresh and modern original blues injected with a solid dose of gritty roadhouse rock ‘n’ roll. Since the 2009 release of their celebrated Alligator Records debut, Twisted, the band has toured non-stop, honing their creative synergy to a razor’s edge. Night after night, the band blazes their own innovative musical path while still remaining true to the blues. Estrin’s work on the reeds is deep in the tradition of harmonica masters Sonny Boy Williamson II and Little Walter Jacobs, while at the same time pushing that tradition forward. The Associated Press calls his harp playing “endlessly impressive.”
MARIA MULDAUR & HER RED HOT BLUESIANA BAND
Muldaur is best known world-wide for her 1974 mega-hit “Midnight at the Oasis,” which received several Grammy nominations, and enshrined her forever in the hearts of Baby Boomers everywhere. But despite her considerable pop music success, her 50-year career could best be described a long and adventurous odyssey through the various forms of American Roots Music. During the folk revival of the early ’60s, she began exploring and singing early Blues, Bluegrass and Appalachian “Old Timey” Music, beginning her recording career in 1963 with the Even Dozen Jug Band and shortly thereafter,
joining the very popular Jim Kweskin Jug Band, touring and recording with them throughout the ’60s.
In the 40 years since “Midnight at the Oasis,” Maria has toured extensively worldwide and has recorded 40 solo albums covering all kinds of American Roots Music, including Gospel, R&B, Jazz and Big Band (not to mention several award-winning children’s albums), before settling comfortably into her favorite idiom, the Blues. Often joining forces with some of the top names in the business, Maria has recorded and produced on-average an album per year, several of which have been nominated
for Grammy and other awards.
In 2013, taking a brief hiatus from her yearly recording schedule, Maria focused on 3 special collaborations, performing worldwide with her old Jug Band mates, as well as continuing to perform with her own Red Hot Bluesiana Band.
THE DELGADO BROTHERS (L.A.’s Best Latin Blues)
Delgado Brothers win 2016 International Blues Challenge! The Delgado Brothers, sponsored by The Ventura County Blues Society, are the winners of the 2016 International Blues Challenge (IBC). Joey Delgado is also the winner of the
Gibson Guitar Player of the year award!
The IBC is a five-day event that includes both band and solo/duo blues music competition, youth and international showcases and seminars. Typically, over 250
(band, solo/duo and youth) acts from 40 states and two dozen countries
participate in the four rounds in Memphis.
Driven by fierce independence, unified by family, and fortified by the brotherhood of music, the Delgado Brothers deliver the musical goods; topical anthem-worthy songs complemented by call-to-action lyrics, and East L.A. Soul. The Brothers’ music has long been embraced both locally and globally by a wide spectrum of people undivided by culture, age or socioeconomic status, and they have longtime been referred to as Los Angeles’ best kept secret. Each member of the band brings a unique style of musicianship to the Delgado Brothers brand. To witness a Delgado Brothers live performance is to testify to the synergy, emotion, work ethic and true musicianship of the band.
OAKLAND INTERFAITH GOSPEL CHOIR
Founded in 1986, the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir was born out of a gospel music workshop led by the exuberant Terrance Kelly at Living Jazz’s Jazz Camp West. It became an independent nonprofit organization in 1991. Since then, the award-winning Choir’s exquisite harmonies and stirring gospel repertoire have led to performances with a wide variety of esteemed groups, such as Joshua Nelson, the Prince of Kosher Gospel; the Five Blind Boys of Alabama; and the Duke Ellington Orchestra. The Choir also appears on Grammy-winning albums by Linda Ronstadt, MC Hammer, Tramaine Hawkins, and others. OIGC, a “treasured Bay Area institution,” was named “Best Gospel Choir” in 2006 and was the winner in the “Best Church Music” category in 2009 in the East Bay Express Reader’s Polls. Terrance Kelly was awarded the Dr. Edwin Hawkins Excellence Award in 2013.