Byron Blues Fest honors volunteers, sets 2012 lineup

Staff Report

Tailgater’s Sports Bar was the scene Oct. 9 when the Byron Crossroads Blues Festival (BCBF) volunteers were honored with a party for all who gave their time. Many turned out and heard the newly-retooled Basement Blues Band play two sets of their fantastic brand of roots music. The party was free for all volunteers. Beverages were provided from the festival, and food was donated by BCBF sponsoring bars and restaurants. Crossroads Blues Society arranged the event to reward the volunteers for their efforts.

Festival Chairman Steve Jones honored Denny Barker as Volunteer of the Year for 2011. Denny was hard at work early in the morning prior to the festival set-up beginning, and worked until the final cleanup was done. Barker will be presented with a framed and matted festival poster for his outstanding effort. Jones noted to all in attendance that each and every one of the volunteers were an essential part of making the event a huge success. Each and every volunteer who attended also won a door prize.

The Basement Blues Band played some great blues for the party. The original trio of Steve “Spider” Leigh (guitar and vocals), Rich Gordon (bass and vocals) and Bob Schmidt (drums, percussion and vocals) still are a vital part of the band, but three new members have been added to enrich and round out the sound. David Stine (guitar and vocals), Tom Dinwiddie (mandolin, washboard and vocals) and Mark Thompson (washboard and percussion) give the band a bigger and richer sound, and the added vocals make for a real down-home and authentic sound. The band is growing its repertoire and beginning to perform live; blues fans need to get out and see and hear them. The sound is very deep, with two guitars, bass and mandolin, and the added layers of percussion give the beat and back line nice depth. Everyone was impressed by the new lineup, and appreciated the bigger and better sound!

Crossroads Blues Society has been busy lining up acts for the 2012 BCBF. To grow the festival, they want to raise the bar each year to have bigger and better bands.

Two national acts are scheduled for 2012, and one band from 2010 and one from 2011 are returning to the stage. The event will be Saturday, Aug. 25, 2012.

Opening the day at 1:30 p.m. will be Aaron Williams and the HooDoo. This power trio offers a rocking sound. Their second CD was just released, and both CDs received great critical acclaim.

A free harmonica workshop will be at 3 p.m. with master harmonica player and builder Joe Filisko.

The Jimmy’s and their swinging hot sound return to Byron for the 3:30 p.m. set. They closed this year’s fest to a raucously good time. Their new CD is selling like hotcakes, and they are one of the Madison, Wis., areas’ top bands.

The 5:30 p.m. slot features the Cash Box Kings. They were the 2010 fan favorite and put on a great show. Just signed to a deal on the Blind Pig Record Label, these guys are getting recognition as one of the hottest acts on the scene.

At 7:30 p.m., Nick Moss and the Flip Tops are scheduled to perform. Nick is one of the premier blues guitarists and has been recognized for his efforts with numerous awards. He and his band are in huge demand around the U.S. and internationally.

The big act for the day is Candye Kane, scheduled to come on at 9:30 p.m. Candye is one of the top female vocalists in the blues world, and has received many nominations and awards for her work. She features Laura Chavez on guitar; Chavez and Kane co-wrote all the new music on their newly-released CD that is taking the blues world by storm.

Crossroads and the BCBF team thank all the volunteers and also thank the sponsors and blues fans who made the 2011 fest another great success. With the lineup for 2012, it looks like this event will continue to grow and become a regular fixture on the blues scene. The first two festivals have drawn fans from Las Vegas, New Orleans, Florida and dozens of other states. Local attendees often comment on how much fun the fests have been and are making their late summer 2012 plans around attending the 2012 festival.

From the Oct. 19-25, 2011, issue

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