The Johnnie Johnson Blues & Jazz Society, Inc. Celebrating Hometown Legend, Johnnie Johnson!
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Join Us for the 13th Annual Johnnie Johnson Festival

July 5-6, 2014

The 2014 Johnnie Johnson Festival Acts:
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2014 Concert Lineup

 

Saturday Featuring:

12:00pm - Brazz Evans

1:15pm - KWT Blues Band

2:30pm - Daryl Davis

3:45pm - Kevin Frieson with Al Anderson

5:00pm - Roddy Barnes

6:15pm - Bill Stalnaker and Night Moves

7:30pm - Greg Piccolo and Heavy Juice

9:30pm - All Star Jam

 

 

Sunday Afternoon:

1:00pm - Brazz Evans

2:15pm - Greg Piccolo and Heavy Juice

3:30pm - Roddy Barnes

4:45pm - KWT Blues Band

6:00pm - Daryl Davis

7:15pm - Bill Stalnaker and Night Moves

 

*All times are approximate*

*Schedule subject to change*

 
This event is FREE and open to the public!
Info Line:  304-363-5377
 
ATTENTION FESTIVAL GOERS!
SPECIAL DISCOUNT ROOM RATES
AT PARTICIPATING FAIRMONT HOTELS!

*Mention the festival to get the discount rate!
Visit the Lodging Page for Details!
JOHNNIE JOHNSON:  1924-2005
The Annual Johnnie Johnson Blues & Jazz Festival has become a summer tradition!
Join us in Johnnie's hometown of Fairmont, West Virginia, as we pay tribute to the Legendary Johnnie Johnson! It was one of Johnnie's dreams that the festival named in his honor would become yet another part of his amazing musical legacy. National recording artists, as well as local and regional musicians have graced the festival's stage. This year is set to be another winner, with some truly talented musicians already booked, and more to be announced!
The Legendary Johnnie Johnson!

 

 

Perhaps best remembered for his 24-year stint with Rhode Island's internationally renowned jump blues band Roomful of Blues, Greg Piccolo has followed his muse since his teenage years.

He joined his first band, The Rejects, at age 13, singing and playing a little alto sax. It was while with this band, playing a date at the Westerly, Rhode Island YMCA, that he met Duke Robillard. It was one of the defining moments in his life. He joined Duke in The Variations, and Duke introduced him to the work of such musicians as Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters. Greg was already familiar with their songs from the covers recorded by the likes of the Beatles, Rolling Stones and the Animals, but until Duke played Greg the originals, he was unaware of the wellspring of the blues. Greg started to drink from the source.

When Duke broke up The Variations, Greg hooked up with Al Copley and together they formed Groupe, an outfit that became popularly known as Greg and the Groupe. In keeping with the redefining sixties, neither an article nor an adjective preceded Groupe. During this period Duke Robillard very briefly led a band called The. Just for the record, this was before Monty Python.

Around the age of fifteen, Greg turned from alto to tenor, a move that was the result of his being transfixed by the tenor solo on Dion's "The Wanderer." Another defining moment.

After working with Duke in an early edition of Roomful of Blues, (a Roomful without horns – Greg played harp), he returned the following year with his tenor sax. He was nineteen, the year was 1970, and that was the time Greg notes, "I really started in on tenor sax. Duke made it happen; he was a strong musical leader."

Duke had heard Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson that summer at the Ann Arbor Blues festival, and had decided a horn band was the way to go. Rich Lataille (alto and tenor) joined Roomful the same time as Greg, and baritone player Doug James came on board the following year. The now legendary Roomful of Blues horn section was born.

From this point until his departure from Roomful in 1994, it is impossible to speak of Greg without mentioning Roomful and vice versa. During the seventies he took care of the band's booking and management, and when Duke left in 1979, he became bandleader, and for much of the time, the band's singer too.

It is from this period that one can say that Roomful's career really took off in an international sense, and Greg's singing – soulful, declamatory and passionate – coupled with a jaunty and energetic stage demeanor, won him fans all over the world. And of course, there was that battered old Selmer Mark VI, hanging from his neck, a tornado in the offing, an ever-present threat of mad abandon. His hard and driving take-no-prisoners sound on up tempo numbers caused pandemonium on the dance floor, while he could make the bouncers weep on a slow blues. Producer, critic and DJ ("Portraits in Blue") Bob Porter, who produced two of Roomful's Grammy nominated albums, noted "Pic has started a new tradition on tenor sax."

It was during the early 1980's that Greg started writing songs, and Roomful's 1984 release. "Dressed Up To Get Messed Up" broke new ground for the band in that most of the tunes came from his pen, and endowed the band with an artistic integrity that none could dispute. Greg had given Roomful of Blues, a band that could trace its musical influences back to the nineteen thirties, a contemporary edge that put it in the vanguard of roots based bands.

In 1990 Greg cut his first solo album "Heavy Juice" for Black Top Records. A collection of mainly instrumental cuts, it featured his tenor and garnered unanimous critical acclaim. Around this time he took up guitar, which he had dabbled with when a teenager, and fairly quickly developed a sound that could fairly be described as archetypical Piccolo. Just like his sound on sax, his sound on guitar emphasized tone and simplicity to tell a story.

Greg left Roomful in 1994 to follow his own particular musical vision. Greg Piccolo and Heavy Juice toured incessantly for the next five or six years, and cut two albums for Fantasy Records, "Acid Blue" (1995) and "Red Lights" (1997). The sound was more contemporary than his previous work and showed his willingness to experiment and to blaze new trails. Nevertheless, it was still music with a feeling. Both albums contained those Greg Piccolo staples that one had come to expect over the years. Finely crafted songs, tasty guitar, some raucous tenor, even a bit of alto, all heavily spiced throughout with soul and passion.

 

 

 

Greg Piccolo
Official Site

"Piccolo wails with wild abandon, resurrecting the sound and spirit of the legendary R&B sax heroes." -- Michael Point, Austin American Statesman

 

 

The continuing decline of venues across the nation ultimately took its toll, both on the size of the group, which started out as a quintet and ended up as a trio, and eventually on its economic viability too. By the time Greg released "Homage", his tribute to his tenor sax heroes, issued on his management company's Emit Doog label, he had hung up his touring shoes. He now cherry picks those dates he wants to play. He is in demand as a session player by the cognoscenti, although sadly in these days of downloads and general digital gloominess, the cognoscenti is undeniably diminishing. He recently finished a couple of sessions with Canadian superstar Colin James ("Little Big Band 3" and a Christmas album), and gets the occasional call from the likes of Jimmie Vaughan. For instance, he played on Jimmie's Grammy nominated "Ironic Twist."

Currently he is working on some big band arrangements of his tunes, and hopes to book some dates around that project in the summer of 2008. He plays New England dates with old band mates from Roomful occasionally, folks such as Carl Querfurth, Sugar Ray Norcia, Rich Lataille and Doug James.

His tone, sound, and outlook are unchanged, although these days he finds himself playing more ballads than before. It is still the sound and the feeling that drive him. And when he says, "Swing is closest to my heart" one has to stand back and look at what this man has done over the last forty years. In company with his Roomful compatriots, Greg Piccolo is one of the guys that reintroduced swing to America in a popular sense. The swing revival of the nineties would never have happened without Roomful of Blues pointing the way during the seventies and eighties.

Over his long career, Greg has played with scores of the legendary heroes of American music, and although he will emphatically deny it, he now has his own place in that pantheon.

Music with a feeling indeed.

– Written by Bob Bell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Whether a searing Blues or a pounding Boogie Woogie, Daryl practices what he preaches; to make his audience happy.  'American roots' signals the arrival of a major blues voice".
–Barry Lee Pearson
Living Blues Magazine
 

 

Daryl Davis

http://www.daryldavis.com/

Daryl Davis earned his Bachelor of Music degree from Howard University, where he was a member of their famed Howard University Choir and renowned Jazz Vocal Ensemble. In addition to being a vocalist, guitarist, composer and keyboard extraordinaire, Daryl is a professional actor and author.

In 1985, 72 year-old Pinetop Perkins, one of the founding fathers of Boogie Woogie and considered to be one of the greatest Blues and Boogie pianists, selected 27 year-old Daryl Davis to succeed him in the piano and vocal slot of the Muddy Waters Legendary Blues Band.
Johnnie Johnson, Chuck Berry's original pianist, has praised Daryl's ability to master with authenticity, a style that was popular 30 years before he was born!

As a performer, Daryl Davis has worked with countless greats such as Elvis Presley's Jordanaires, The Coasters and he is a long-standing, regular player, in Chuck Berry's current band. He was the featured pianist on Cephas & Wiggins' 1992 Grammy Award winning album, Flip Flop and Fly.

As a composer, in addition to his own hits Boogie Man and Broadminded and many other originals, Daryl scored the music to the popular children's story, Abigail.

After having been with so many others helping them to do their thing in nightclubs, concert halls, festivals, recording, films, radio and television, from the United States to Europe, don't miss seeing Daryl Davis with his group doing his own thing!

 

 

Roddy Barnes

 

 

"He's like the Bruce Springsteen of boogie woogie . . . He's a man in the grips of a sensual hankering that hardly allows him a breath between the long, languid lines of his blues . . . He keeps stirring up desire until it builds to the emergency condition of "Call 911," as deadly humorous a boogie as any Long-Tall You-Know-Who ever put down." - J.D. Buhl, "Holy Soul Piano Roll," Kansas City's The New Times

 

 

 

 

“With his powerful piano style, and his world-weary, yet playful, vocals, I feel as if I’m time-traveling back to a juke joint in the 20’s on the old-timey feel of his music… He’s truly a blue-plate special in the world’s musical diner…eat him up!” Andra Faye, Alligator Records

 

www.roddybarnes.com

Roddy Barnes was born in 1963 in Blanchard, Iowa, a small rural farm town of around 100 people. His parents, Kenneth and Carol Barnes, were pig and grain farmers and some of Roddy's first memories were of many hours in the bean fields, pulling weeds. To amuse himself, Roddy would make up songs as he worked - the start to his musical creativity.
His first musical influence was church. Roddy's parents had an old upright and at age four, he began picking out hymns. Singing was also a strong passion and his first solo, "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam," he performed at age five. His first music gig came at age 15 where he played and sang in a local hotel, "The Walnut Inn" in Tarkio, Missouri.
In high school, he was awarded Musician of the Year three consecutive years, the Chopin Award and the John Philip Sousa Award both two years straight, was a member of district and state band and district chorus. He received #1 ratings at the state level on solo piano, trumpet, and voice. In 1979 as a high school sophomore, he was accepted into the the United States Collegiate Wind Band which performed in New York, England, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and France.
In 1981 Roddy was awarded full scholarships to both Missouri Western State College and Kansas University. He chose MWSC. While in college, he studied classical piano, trumpet, voice, composition and theory. As a composer, he wrote an original score for "Death of a Salesman" performed at the Missouri Repertory Theatre. He also composed music for a commercial about safe sex and scored a short film. He was awarded a grant to the Aspen Music Festival where he studied under world-renowned pianist Rita Sloan-Gottlieb.
After receiving his B.A. in Classical Performance in 1988, he was awarded a scholarship to study in France under Francois Rene Duchable. While in France, he performed in blues clubs in several French cities. He was featured in a French paper called "Le Dauphine" where, it read "(he) has conquered by his talent all the music lovers of the city of the Ducs."
In 1990, Roddy applied for, and received, a scholarship to the Berklee School of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. Along with his studies, he performed blues throughout the city. Roddy returned to the midwest in 1992 and recorded his first album, "Roll with the Punches," in Kansas City, MO.
New Orleans lured him south where he was able to perform 10 gigs a week. Some of the more notable venues were Tipitinas, Maxwells Toulouse Cabaret, and The Common Ground. While in New Orleans, he recorded three more CDs -- "Unseen," "Betrayed," and "Blues Boogie and Soul." From his "Betrayed" CD, his composition, "Because of You," was recorded by the international blues act, Saffire - The Uppity Blues Women, on Alligator Records.
To advance his career, Roddy moved to Austin, Texas in 1996. He was a monthly feature on John Aielli's "Ecclecticos" on KUT radio showcasing his original songs. He also recorded his 5th CD, "Broken Wing." From this CD, another of his compositions, "Let the Gin Do the Talking," was covered by Saffire.
2004 finds Roddy in Richmond, Virginia, to collaborate with other artists. Two songs from his 6th CD, "Ballads and Barrooms," are being covered by blues artist Ann Rabson on her solo recording. (Ann is a founding member of Saffire.) The Saffire connection continues as Roddy works with another founding member, Gaye Adegbalola, performing classic blues - blues mainly from the 20's and 30's by divas such as Bessie Smith, Alberta Hunter and Ma Rainey. Further, Roddy works with Filipe Rose (the Indian of the Village People) doing musical compositions, arrangements and accompaniment. He also continues to perform solo.

 

Paul Geremia
Official Site

 

 

 

For almost forty years, Paul Geremia has survived solely by the fruit of his musical labours. Having abandoned all other means of support in 1966, he has been travelling far and wide ever since, performing in every capacity from street singing to club and concert bookings, throughout the U.S.A., Canada and Europe.

In the years since, Geremia has built a reputation as a first rate bluesman, songwriter, a "scholar" of early jazz and blues, and one of the best country blues fingerpickers ever with his tools - six and twelve-string guitars, harmonica, piano and a husky soulful voice - and with an innate sense of the humour as well as the drama of the music, he keeps traditional blues fresh and alive with his performances.

Combining his interpretation of the earlier music of people like Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Blind Willie McTell, Scrapper Blackwell and Blind Blake, with his original compositions, he has created a style which is very much his own and which has received accolades in the U.S.A. and Europe, too numerous to mention.

Geremia's background isn't typical for a bluesman. He is a third generation Italian-American who, as he laughingly puts it, "was born in the Providence River Delta". Growing up in a family that moved across the country and back numerous times weaned his appetite for music, history and travel, which served him well later on.

During the sixties, Paul noticed that the music he had enjoyed playing on harmonica (his first instrument) was now referred to as "Folk Music" and was enjoying popularity. During his short time in agriculture college, he was mostly occupied with learning guitar and hitch-hiking to where the music was. He soon left college and hit the road permanently. He found paying gigs in coffee houses and "basket houses" in cities and at college campuses and made occasional forays South and West in search of the music he loved and what gigs he could find.

During these years, Geremia crossed paths with people whose influences were beneficial to his development and understanding of the tradition. He worked as opening act for some of the early blues "legends" thereby gaining an immeasurable depth of knowledge from people like Babe Stovall, Yank Rachel, Son House, Skip James, Howlin' Wolf, and many others, especially Pink Anderson whose career he helped revitalize.

Geremia has recorded ten solo albums, and has appeared on numerous anthologies and compilation discs. His superb recordings have made him a critical favorite and place him firmly among the legends who inspired and influenced him over the past four decades.

 

 

 

 

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