EVENTS

The 29th Annual Bull Durham Blues Festival

Performing Friday, September 9th


Roy Roberts

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Born in Tennessee, Roy Roberts moved to Greensboro, NC when he was 18 to live with an uncle. He was inspired to become a professional musician and sharpened his guitar playing skills, eventually landing a job with local hero Guitar Kimbers’ Untouchables and backing up major artists who passed through. One of those artists, Solomon Burke, took young Roy under his wing and he was soon handling the guitar chores behind the future soul legend on tour. Roberts subsequently toured with Eddie Floyd, “Little” Stevie Wonder, Dee Clark, and Otis Redding, while fronting his own band, The Roy Roberts Experience.

The tragic death of Otis Redding inspired Roy to step up to the microphone with a song dedicated to the late crooner. The record was released on Nina Simone’s NinaAndy label. One day in the early nineties, he heard a young Robert Cray singing the blues on the radio. “That cat’s got my style,” he declared, and the blues fever hit Roberts once again. Besides recording his own material on Rock House, Roberts has produced albums for several artists on that label. Roy continues to record and produce records for his label, and tours the U.S. and Europe regularly. A recipient of numerous awards, Roy has earned his place among the finest artists playing blues today.

Barbara Carr

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A native of St. Louis, MO, Carr began singing in church as a choir girl, eventually forming a family gospel group called the Crosby Sisters. In 1963, she joined a locally popular group called the Petites, which opened for Smokey Robinson & the Miracles. She met St. Louis-based saxophonist/bandleader Oliver Sain and joined Sain’s band. Carr went on to sign with Chess records but left that company, forming a label, Bar-Car, with her husband in 1982.

Carr issued a number of singles over the next few years, many recorded at the legendary Muscle Shoals studios in Alabama. This material helped form the basis for Carr’s first full-length album, 1989’s Good Woman Go Bad, which was later reissued on the Shreveport-based Paula label in 1994. A second collection, Street Woman, was released on Bar-Car on cassette in 1992, then on CD in 1994.

Carr’s recordings led to her signing with the Ecko label in 1996, releasing her label debut, Footprints on the Ceiling, in 1997. The follow-up firmly established Carr’s new tough, bawdy blues-mama persona; issued in 1998, both the title and the lyrics of Bone Me Like You Own Me left little to the imagination. Carr was becoming popular on blues and retro-soul radio stations throughout the South. Carr enjoyed a succession of follow-ups, which included 1999’s What a Woman Wants, 2000’s Stroke It, 2001’s The Best Woman, 2002’s On My Own, 2003’s Talk to Me, and 2006’s Down Low Brother. She continues to tour and entertain audiences with her music.

Beverly Guitar Watkins

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Beverly “Guitar” Watkins is a 74-year-old blues singer/songwriter/guitarist from Atlanta, Georgia. Don’t mess with Miss Watkins!

For more than 50 years Beverly “Guitar” Watkins has been a phenomenon in the blues community. As one critic observes, “She sings and plays with enough of what it takes to make musicians half her age or younger consider alternative means of employment.” The Georgia native discovered music through her Mother’s gramophone. Listening to records by Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Memphis Minnie she began to play guitar at age eight, studying with several of her aunts. As a junior in high school, she was introduced to the bandleader Piano Red and soon joined his backing band, which eventually came to be known as The House Rockers. They gigged at local clubs, performed at colleges in the region and eventually started to tour nationally. They opened spots for James Brown, Ray Charles, and many others. In 1965, she hooked up with Eddie Tigner from the Ink Spots and later joined up with Leroy Redding, working with him into the late 1980s. She made another breakthrough by creating a residency for herself at the nightclub Underground Atlanta. The Music Maker Relief Foundation soon booked her on the all-star Women of the Blues “Hot Mamas” tour in 1998 and released her first CD “Back in Business,” which received a W.C. Handy Blues Award nomination in 2000. She has toured internationally, and her reputation as a live performer is unmatched; as she observes, “When I get on stage, it’s electrifying. I light up and get into the crowd. That’s what I call ministering to the public.”

THE KING BEES have been stingin’ and swingin’ to international acclaim for 29 years and are led by blues dynamo bassist/vocalist Penny “Queen Bee” Zamagni.

Bobby Hinton

Durham based keyboardist and vocalist Bobby Hinton has been performing for audiences around the world providing a taste of American down-home singing for his audiences. His repertoire includes a mix of Blues and R&B with a shot of Country Rock.

After a tour of the Far East during the 1970’s, Hinton toured Europe where he worked with top entertainers like the The O’Jays, James Brown, Bobby Blue Bland and Bobby Womack.

In the 1980’s Hinton completed service in the military and retired, briefly suspending his performance tours; however, he continued to write original music. Bobby rejoined the entertainment world he loved in the early 1990’s.

Bobby continues to perform in and around the Durham area with a voice as rich as ever.

Performing Saturday, September 10th


Grady Champion

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Native Canton, Mississippi entertainer, rhythm & blues singer, and musician, Grady Champion has been captivating audiences for the better part of two decades. He is an honored Grammy Award winning songwriter. Champion’s song “Trust Yourself”, co-written with Kevin Bowe, was included on Etta James’ album Let’s Roll. It won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album in 2003 and also a Blues Music Award as the Soul/Blues Album of the Year from the Blues Foundation in 2004. The guitarist, harpist, songwriter, singer and executive producer in 2013 signed with the legendary Malaco Records. Champion is a bearer of the torch for keeping authentic Blues and Soul music alive. Champion’s new CD “One of a Kind” is set for a September 16th release. Follow him by joining his social media YouTube, Facebook & Twitter.

At the age 24, Grady worked for FJH Music owner Frank J. Hackinson, former President of Columbia Pictures, learning the ins and outs of the music business as he worked to build his career as an entertainer/musician. In 1998, after learning to play the harmonica, Grady released his first album, the self-released Goin’ Back Home. In 2010, he won the International Blues Challenge, enabling him to expand his regular tour itinerary to include most of the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

In 2011, Champion released the album Dreamin’, and his single “Make That Monkey Jump” won a Blues Critic Award in the Best Down Home Blues Song category. and his CD Tough Times Don’t Last (2013) was nominated for two 2012 Blues Music Awards: Best Soul Blues Album and Song of the Year for “Thank You for Giving Me the Blues.” With an album on Malaco and a touring schedule of approximately 180 performances per year, Grady Champion is living proof that the blues are alive and well.

Da 6’8” Wonder DJ 2TALL

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Known by many as Da 6’8” Wonder DJ 2Tall for his different genres of spinning, he has also added DVDJ’n to his arsenal. DJ 2Tall has been DJ’n since the tender age of 14 and has had a love for music since a toddler! DJ 2Tall has been holding down the club scene for 15 years in Jackson, MS.

He started his first club experience DJ’n for a well-known blues club in Jackson (Peaches) for six years and his popularity in da City continued to grow as he created a buzz among independent artists from all over with his Mixtape hosting ability. The highest respect came when DJ 2Tall hosted national recording artist Fiend from Master P’s old No Limit Records Mixtape entitled “The Bailout.” DJ 2Tall has also stepped onto da casino scene where he is in his 6th year residency at The New Waterview Casino Vicksburg, 2Tall got his internet radio experience with TWEEKEDOUTRADIO.COM. He also has the first Animated Radio Mixshow “Da Back Yard Bar-B-Que” with V-WURLD Radio. 2TALL has DJ’d for countless shows such as Pastor Troy and Drake, and has been on the comedy scene DJ’n after-parties for Kevin Hart, Mike Epps, and Comic View comedians Big Tiny & Doo Doo Brown to name a few.

DJ 2Tall is now Tour DJ / Road Manager for Grady Champion. He has strong North Carolina ties, having spent every summer since his teens visiting his father who lived in Cary for over 20 years. He has an older sister who still lives in Cary along with his niece and nephew, Joseph Wright AKA DJ Josie G, who is following in 2Tall’s steps in the DJ business.

Mac Arnold and Plate Full O’ Blues

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Mac Arnold’s first band included James Brown on piano. Mac moved to Chicago and Muddy Waters hired him on the spot. He toured and recorded with the Muddy Waters Band and recorded LPs with Otis Spann and John Lee Hooker. Mac moved to Los Angeles and produced Soul Train with his friend Don Cornelius. He even played bass on the Sanford & Son television show when he wasn’t playing bass for Otis Redding and B.B. King. He retired from show business to be an organic farmer. Mac is back with his own band and a “plate full” of CDs, building a new foundation in blues, soul and funk.

In late 1966, at age 24, came the opportunity of a lifetime to join the Muddy Waters Band and help shape the electric blues sound that inspired the rock and roll movement of the late 60’s and early 70’s. Regular guests of the band included Eric Clapton, Paul Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield, and Elvin Bishop. The Muddy Waters Band (as a unit) shared the stage with the likes of Howlin’ Wolfe, Elmore James, Jimmy Reed, Junior Wells, Big Joe Williams, and Big Mama Thornton just to name a few. During this time, Mac played on John Lee Hooker’s “live “album, Live at the Café Au Go-Go, as well as Otis Spann’s classic recording “The Blues is Where It’s At”.

After more than a year with Muddy Waters, Mac formed the Soul Invaders which backed up many artists, including The Temptations and B. B. King. In the early 70’s, he moved to Los Angeles to work at ABC Television and LAFF RECORDS (Redd Foxx). This led to working on the set of Soul Train from 1971 to 1975 and then working with Bill Withers (“Lean On Me”) before moving back to South Carolina in the 80”s.

Mac now resides in Pelzer, SC, where at the age of ten he got his first taste of the blues when he learned to play his brother Leroy’s home-made guitar. Going back to his roots. Mac is serving up a mess of Blues with his own band, “Mac Arnold & Plate Full O’ Blues”. The band consists of Austin Brashier on guitar and vocals, Max Hightower on keyboards, harmonica, guitar, bass, and vocals, Tez Sherard on drums and vocals, and Mac Arnold on vocals, bass and Gas Can Guitars.

Luxuriant Sedans

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The Luxuriant Sedans hail from the fertile musical stomping grounds of the North Carolina Piedmont. The band’s five members – Mike “Wezo” Wesolowski (vocals, harp); Ed Bumgardner (bass, vocals); Rob Slater (guitar); Gino “Woo Funk” Grandinetti (guitar) and Bob Tarleton (drums) – are veteran musicians with experience in myriad musical genres, from alternative music to country-rock to jazz, vintage soul and rock ‘n’ roll in all its forms and guises. The common ground for their backgrounds is blues, but The Luxuriant Sedans is no typical fedora-wearing, licks-off-of-records blues band. Rather, the band’s deep musical versatility takes the blue soul in its music and adds an element of rock ‘n’ roll energy that celebrates taste and individuality.

Like its namesake, The Luxuriant Sedans is the prestigious sum of quality parts.

An evening with The Luxuriant Sedans is equal parts welcome entertainment and delightful experience – new, comfortable, exciting…Luxuriant.

Once you’ve gone Luxuriant, there is no turning back.

Joe B. Cutchins, Jr.

Calling himself an “ol’ dude humbled,” Joe B. Cutchins took a first step journey in 2005 to pursue his lifelong dream of performing. At age 65 Joe B. got the opportunity to tell his story the way he wanted it told, through music.

The Franklinton, NC songwriter, producer, musician and singer released his CD “Keepin’ It Real” that features Dave Bartholomew, Tre’ Cutchins, Larry Kearney, Jimmy Upchurch, Brian Malone, Eddie Berman, Bill McKelvy and Bobby Cutchins. All 12 tracks were written by Joe B. and recorded on the Ponycar Records label.

Checkerboard Suede

Checkerboard Suede is a rock/r&b influenced blues collaborative. The CSC (Checkerboard Suede Collaborative) performs original and classic blues with their own flavor. The collaborative developed at Brett’s OpenMic, and North Carolina Central University in Durham.

The two founders, Brett Chambers and John Prince, a PhD, singer/songwriter/guitarist, met at NCCU and the idea of forming the group was discussed after playing one of John’s original songs at Brett’s OpenMic.

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