Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ernie “Sugar Lips” Brown Benefit Raises Almost $1,500!

The benefit show for Ernie "Sugar Lips" Brown was held at Big Cities Lounge on Sunday, November 16, 2008. It was a great day of music, food and fun! The event raised $1,495 thanks to the generosity of all who attended. Over 70 people turned out to honor and support the 5-time RAMI Award winning musician.

The Port Bluez Band played first. The band reformed and got back together to honor the man who mentored them, a man whom they love like a brother. They were exciting to listen to and watch. They played and sang their hearts out and put on a great show. Between the music and conversation amongst the band members, the crowd was treated to some excellent music and entertainment. Keyboardist and singer Bob Lowther also made up 50 copies of CDs of a 1996 show with Ernie and the band to sell; the proceeds will go to Ernie. Dozens of copies were sold at the show.

Next up was The Po Boys! The band played and their leader Ernie joined them on stage and sang with them. It was a pretty touching set of music with Ernie leading the band again. Bob Levis and Larry Pendleton were on guitar, Victor Wattes was on bass, Link Leary was behind the drums and Teddy Lawrence provided some great harp as Ernie was unable to play the Mississippi saxophone. The guys put on a great show and the crowd was excited and fired up.
Brother Dave Kaye and Bob Lowther put together a set of musicians that did a third set. The crowd really enjoyed their rockin' blues!

The money from the door, donations received by Crossroads, a 50-50 raffle and silent auction raised $1,495 dollars for Ernie Brown. There were also some private donations and CD sale money that will raise that sum over $1,500! Ernie was humbled by the generosity and turn out of support by his friends and fans.

A big note of thanks goes to Nino for opening Big Cities early for this event and for hosting the benefit. The bands who played also deserve a big thank you for coming out and playing. Thanks also need to go out to Alligator Records who sent us 20 CDs to use a prizes and auction items. Lastly, thank you to all the attendees who came out, donated auction items, prepared food, and gave of their time and money! It was great day with three super sets of music, delicious food, fun to support and man who has been so instrumental in keeping the blues alive in the Rockford, Northern Illinois and Chicago areas!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Upcoming Blues Events November-December 2008

A big month is coming up in November for Crossroads Blues Society Members and blues fans in the Rockford area! The main event is the Ernie Brown Benefit that will be on Sunday, November 16th at Big Cities. It will run from 3 PM to 9 PM and features Port Bluez, The Po’ Boys and The Barstool Bob Band. Food will be provided. Cover is $10 and donations will be accepted. Fundraising events will be held during the day to support this Rockford-area Bluesman in need!

Friday November 7th is Westside Andy and Mel Ford at Big Cities for a big night of blues and for Nino’s birthday. It should be a good night with these bluesmen from Madison!

The annual Crossroads Christmas Party will be Friday, December 12 at Big Cities. Reverend Raven will be playing up a storm! Bring a dish to pass if you can, but for sure come out for a great night of blues!

Eddie Shaw and the Wolfpack return for big show at Big Cities on December 19th, too! Check our calendar inside on page 12.

Our next Blues in the Schools Benefit will be after the Holidays, so watch out for news of that in the next newsletter.

We are also working on a big show but can’t mention anything yet. If things work out, stay tuned for a big announcement!

November and December are shaping up to be two big months of great music and fun. We hope to see you out and about keeping the blues alive!

Mississippi Valley Blues Society

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society (MVBS) provides our members a home away from home. I say that because I see more of our members in Davenport at the MVBF every Fourth of July weekend than any other time of the year. But what if that home away from home goes away? It could, without your help.

Last Spring, Iowa encountered flooding of near epic proportions. The 2008 MVBF was moved from LeClaire Park to downtown Davenport. Attendance was way down. Fundraising efforts have helped but they remain $96,000 behind the level of funding they need to make the 25th Anniversary Festival a reality in 2009. They need your help to raise money and close that gap to keep the show going and keep the blues alive.

Membership in MVBS is one way to help. Membership is available at a variety of levels; see table below. Business/Organization supporting memberships are available for $250.00 per year. You can send us a check along with an explanation of what membership you want to:

Mississippi Valley Blues Society102 South Harrison Street,
Suite 300Davenport, IA 52801-1811

1 Year 2 Years 3 Years Lifetime
Single $15.00 $25.00 $35.00 $400.00
Family $25.00 $45.00 $65.00 $500.00

Fundraisers are also being held. The next one is with Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater will play a fundraiser for the Mississippi Valley Blues Society on Friday, Nov. 7, at the Redstone Room in Davenport. The night will also include a silent auction of blues memorabilia including framed photos. Doors open at 6 p.m., with Ellis Kell and “Detroit” Larry Davison playing from 6:30-7:30. The first of Eddy Clearwater’s two sets begins at 8:00 p.m. Admission is $20.00, which includes hors d’oevres as long as they last.

Stay in tune with MVBS news, events and fundraising at!

Ernie “Sugar Lips” Brown Benefit

Ernie “Sugar Lips” Brown Benefit
Sunday, November 16th
Big Cities Lounge 3 to 8 PM

$10 Cover
Food will be provided
Music by:
Port Bluez
The Po Boys
Barstool Bob Band

Blues in the Schools with Fruteland Jackson

Fruteland Jackson returned to the Rockford area for two days of Blues in the Schools (BITS) on October 21st and 22nd. We were proud to bring Fruteland to schools to help keep the Blues alive.

Tuesday’s programs were at Winnebago Middle School where 150 6th graders were treated to the program in the morning and McNair Elementary School in Winnebago where the entire student body (250) of 3rd and 4th graders attended the program.

On Wednesday Jackson was in Rockford. He began in the morning at Lewis Lemon with 250 students from the 3rd and 4th Grades. The afternoon program was at Thompson Elementary where the entire student body (400) of K through 4 attended. In all, over 1,050 students were at the four programs.

There was also an evening show on Tuesday at the Just Goods Listening Room on 7th Street in Rockford. Acoustic bluesman Todd Lorenz opened the evening with a set of his original acoustic blues and folk music. His set was well received by the attendees. Todd also introduced his first two CDs of songs from his Twenty Aught Eight song-a-week project. He released the first 26 songs or new music on two CDs (reviewed inside). Fruteland Jackson was accompanied by Paul Kaye, a Wisconsin artist who recently accompanied Honeyboy Edwards at Grafton. Kaye played harp and mandolin with Fruteland and added a nice touch to the roots music. Jackson gave the crowd a great set of songs from his repertoire to enjoy. He also made his three CDs available for sale.

This program is partially supported by a grant from the Rockford Area Arts Council which receives support from the City of Rockford, the Illinois Arts Council, and its members.

Our Fall BITS effort thus far was hugely successful. We have brought BITS programs to area schools for over 7 years now and over 16,000 students have learned about and heard the blues because of it. Thanks to all the club members who helped make the program a success!

BITS Notes
· We have maintained our costs to be able to deliver BITS programs at the cost of about $1 per student attendee
· So far, we have provided eight programs to schools in Northern Illinois in 2008
· Funding for the programs comes from membership dues, benefit shows and grant money from the Rockford Area Arts Council.
· BITS programs are provide with zero cost to supported schools