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BluesFest 2017 Performers


Erich Goebel & the Flying Crowbars

2:00pm – 2:45pm | South Stage

Leading this trio, is Michigan native Erich Goebel who honed his skills as a singer and guitarist for many years as part of the West coast music scene. His forte is scorching, electric guitar in the blues and related American musical forms from funk, to roadhouse, boogie, R&B, jazz, country, Gospel and rock ‘n’ roll. In 2007 he joined with James Cloyd, Jr. to form the Crowbars. Both were born and raised in Detroit, and over 4 decades experienced its heyday, decline, and ongoing turnaround. There “are still a lot of little pockets of artistic freedom and deep thought that you can get to, in places where you’d never expect it,” says James. Experience this pocket for yourself!

Slim Nichols & Mike Crupi

3:00pm – 3:45pm | South Stage

If you like lots and lots of guitar, plus dobro, harmonica and vocalizing, don’t miss to miss the 2017 CABS Blues Brawl winners, before they make their way to the 2017 International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis, TN! Mike Crupi started out, as many young guitarists did in the 1970s and ’80s, jamming with various area musicians and looking for a permanent band to make it big. He’s been reading music since he was 6, and has been able to turn his passion for music into a full-time paying gig, as he owns Practical Guitar in Jackson. Singer/songwriter/ guitarist Kev Nichols is a seasoned musical veteran, and no stranger to the BluesFest stage performing with a number of bands. He’s also no stranger to the IBC — having led bands to the semi finals and finals so many times since 2004 that we’ve lost count—even reaching the Semi-finals in 2011.

Gina Garner & Calling Dr Howard

4:00pm – 5:00pm | North Stage

Gina Garner has performed at BluesFest before, but it’s a first for Calling Dr. Howard —a unique collaboration of six vocalists, five playing instruments, providing a range of musical selections—from blues to jazz to classic rock and roll—that will satisfy the desires of a discerning and varied audience. The collaboration emerged from a weekly series of public jam sessions in Lansing. Participants are: vocalist Gina Garner; drummer Mike Daniels; keyboardist Dave Dudt; bassist Mike Smalley; guitarist SJ “Frog” Forgey—and last but not least, harmonica player/vocalist Bruce Howard — a.k.a.

“Dr. Howard”. They enjoyed the energy and chemistry of working together so much they decided to offer their sundry weekend offerings under the name Calling Dr. Howard, a tribute to a Three Stooges sketch, and of course a way to call Bruce to the stage...

Maggie McCabe Band

5:00pm – 6:00pm | South Stage

Maggie McCabe has spent much of the last three decades honing her craft at venues across the Detroit Metropolitan area, earning the respect of her peers, as well as winning Detroit Music Awards in 2008, ’13, ’14, ’15 and ’16,and three more nominations for 2017. In addition to the early music of Bonnie Raitt, great ladies of the Blues including Sippie Wallace, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Bessie Smith are common in her repertoire. An awardwinning artist individually, she also thrives on the added dimensions of performing with a band -- in this case a great trio at BluesFest.

Twyla Birdsong

6:00pm – 7:00pm | North Stage

One of Lansing’s most loved vocalists. Known for her show-stopping voice and stage presence, she’s sung with the Red Hot Blues Band, Wise Guys, Twyla and the Night Crawlers, the Lansing Blues Divas, Big Willy, and several others--and also experienced the honor of sharing the stage with such legends as Larry McCray and Freddie Cunningham. With her deep roots in the Blues, she continues to perform the style with unbridled passion, although recently adding a touch of Jazz. Her performances never disappoint.

Kathleen Murray & the Groove Council

7:00pm – 8:30pm | South Stage

If you’re craving a taste of old school Detroit, then this funky R&B sound will do just the trick. They’ve been awarded “Outstanding R&B Artist/Group” at the Detroit Music Awards. Everything the Groove Council plays sounds old school but lively. The nine-piece group features 4 horns and a swinging rhythm section. Even if it’s a new and original composition you’ll find yourself feeling the old Motown style in their music. Their genuine joy for performing and danceable music has made them a favorite and bars and festivals alike.

Chris Canas Band

8:30pm – 9:30pm | North Stage

Ann Arbor native Chris Canas can be heard playing live blues all over metro Detroit and beyond. His Chris Canas Band won their first blues competition in 2007, and hasn’t let up since. Their well-blended sets of classic covers and clever originals captivate audiences, delivering moving vocals, pounding beats and crackling energy. Their invitationt to you: Do your Soul a favor and feed it some hot Bluesberry Pie with a side order of fresh cut Funk and a tall glass of Soul!

Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials

9:30pm – 11:00pm | South Stage

Chicago is overflowing with bluest talent, and yet the the fiery, flamboyant slide guitarist Lil’ Ed Williams still manages to stand out from that crowd The Chicago Sun-Times says, “Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials are the hottest purveyors of bottleneck boogie to come out of Chicago since Hound Dog Taylor.” Call it bottleneck boogie, or modern electric blues, but since the mid-’80s, Ed and The Blues Imperials—bassist (and Ed’s half-brother) James “Pookie” Young, guitarist Mike Garrett and drummer Kelly Littleton—have released seven albums, and the latest CD features Lil’ Ed’s incendiary playing and playful, passionate singing, with the ragged-but-right Blues Imperials cooking like mad alongside him. Come and savor it all.

Kathleen & the Bridge Street Band

11:00pm – 1:00am | UrbanBeat (1213 Turner)

Kathleen Walters has been captivating audiences in and around Lansing since the formation of her first band, Blues Xpress, in the late 90s. Later, as featured vocalist for Frog & the Beeftones, she shared the stage with national blues artists Larry McCray, Memphis mainstay The Daddy Mack Blues Band, and San Francisco’s Tommy Castro Band. In 2006, Kathleen formed The Blues Junkies as an outlet for performing her own songs, and took 2nd place in the Capital Area Blues Society Blues Brawl and People’s Choice Award. She now dazzles audiences with Kathleen and The Bridge Street Band, playing a unique mix of traditional and contemporary blues and sultry ballads.


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