The Keeshea Pratt Band
The Houston based, international award winning Keeshea Pratt Band possesses the skill and artistry of the blues and old-school Motown that is a rarity among bands of any genre today. This musical collective lends its energy and passion to the past, present, and future of the Blues. The musical prowess and dexterity of the Keeshea Pratt Band allows the group to journey, unapologetically, across a universe that spans the distance from, classical, jazz, rock, soul, gospel, country, and back again.
Keeshea Pratt is the siren featured on the soaring, soulful, Mississippi-inspired vocals. This phenomenal musical journey is made up of musicians from around the country and Japan. KPB includes Shawn Allen (musical director, bass, vocals), Eugene Botts (B3, piano), Brian Sowell (lead guitar, vocals), Dan Carpenter (sax), Misaki Nishidate (trumpet), and Andy Acuna (drums)
Some of Pratt’s accomplishments include The 2011 Jackson Free Press Artist of the Week, The 2012 Female Artist of the Year in the Jackson Music Awards, and a featured artist the 2010 Chicago Blues Festival. Her road to the top of her musical game in Jackson has been filled with the type of conviction that now causes a younger generation to look to her as a musical influence.
The Blues Foundation (Memphis, TN) crowned the Keeshea Pratt Band the 2018 International Blues Challenge winners in the Band Competition at the 34th annual edition of the IBC.
The KPB debut release, Believe, which came out in 2018 right in front of their rise to the top of the IBC, is available at https://keesheapratt.com
Big Al & the Heavyweights
From Cajun to zydeco, blues to rock, and everything in between, Big Al & the Heavyweights offers a musical gumbo that sets the band apart and will always bring the party. Formed in 1996 as the Unknown Blues Band, with founding members Big Al Lauro, Warren Haynes (Allman Bros, Gov’t Mule), and Rick Gergen (Sweethearts of the Rodeo), the band has been featured at festivals and venues throughout the country and beyond. A fun filled musical variety, Big Al and the Heavyweights bring together their original musical flavor to make a foot stomping show come alive for audiences of all ages.
The band’s latest, World Full of Trouble, was released in 2018 on Ellersoul Records. This marks Big Al & the Heavyweights 7th CD release. It included several guest artists, such as famed Muddy Waters guitarist Bob Margolin, and John Lisi from Delta Funk. The band also welcomed back former Heavyweight and harmonica virtuoso, Jason Ricci.
Big Al and the Heavyweights live performances are energetic and fun for the whole family. The band returns to the tri-state at the River Basin Blues Fest on Saturday, July 31st, at the Friedman Park Amphitheater, in Newburgh, Indiana.
Big Al & the Heavyweights are: Big Al Lauro (Drums, Vocals), Wayne Lohr (keys, vocals), Mark Parsons (bass), Marcel Anton (guitar, vocals), and “Roguie” Ray Lamontagne (harp).
“Rougie” Ray Lamontagne has performed with some of the legends in music. Beginning with the harmonica at 16, Lamontagne’s harp is his life, and he lends it to Big Al occasionally when the mood is right. The River Basin Blues Society is fortunate to have “Rougie” Ray on stage for the River Basin Blues Fest with Big Al & the Heavyweights.
For more information, music, and merchandise from Big Al & the Heavyweights visit https://www.bigal.net
Blues 4 U
Blues 4 U is the only band to play all 30 years of the WC Handy Blues and Barbeque Festival in Henderson, Kentucky. This group features a Who’s Who of all-star area talent including Carl Rodenberg (keys, vocals), Jon Rochner (bass, vocals), Danny Erkman (drums), Tommy Stillwell (guitars, vocals), and Roy Carter (sax). Besides bringing the rousing and raucous music to the stage as Blues 4 U, the members of this group play with other great bands throughout the Tri-Sate and beyond. Blues 4 U always brings the best in Blues to the stage.
Boscoe France Band
Boscoe France’s authentic musical style is an awe-inspiring alchemy of blues, rock, and little bit of down-home soul. In what is sure to be an unforgettable performance, Boscoe’s indescribable slide guitar skills are well matched with his “rock your socks off” style of Blues. Standing barefoot is his common stage presence and he plays with the skill and talent of a master musician fused with the intensity of a bare-knuckled brawler.
Since picking up his Uncle Duke’s guitar at the age of three, Boscoe has forged a truly unique sound. After slogging thru all the initial contests and semi-finals, France made it to 2012 Guitar Center’s Battle of the Blues Grand Finals. Boscoe took the title, plus loot and prizes that included the beginning of his relationship with Paul Reed Smith. Boscoe currently performs at music festivals and PRS guitar clinics across the country. His joys are playing music and living the good life in Western Kentucky.
The rhythm section in the Boscoe France Band is represented by two of the finest musicians to come out of the area. Cory Folz (bass) has played with many local bands and is currently a store manager at Moore Music. Jimmy Cummings (drums), a veteran of many Boscoe France incarnations, keeps the band on the strongest foundation possible.
RJ Rigdon & Gary Jines
RJ Rigdon and Gary Jines have been fixtures with the River Basin Blues Society since the beginning. As a duo, they are the perfect opening act for all the Society’s festivals. RJ Rigdon tends to be a bit primal in all he does. Rigdon plays rock-inflected blues, as well as traditional, acoustic, primal roots music. And he is equally at home with both guitars. He has a passion and respect for the music that drives him to carry that torch. Gary Jines is an ever-present harmonica player in the tri-state area and has been Rigdon’s bandmate for many seasons. Gary and RJ and Gary can be found currently playing at local place like the Pizza Factory in Evansville and at Lure Seafood & Grill in Owensboro.
Raymond L. Lamey, MD
The family of Gary Ahrens supports the River Basin Blues Fest
The family of the late Gary Ahrens are supporting the River Basin Blues Fest by donating funds in his name, to bring Blues 4u to the Friedman Park Amphitheater stage. Mr. Ahrens was a musician and educator who dedicated his life to teaching students and those who wished to learn the values and joy of music. The family of Mr. Ahrens; his sons, Keith, and Steve, as well as his daughter, Sharon, wish to honor him by participating in this event. Keith and Steve are members of the River Basin Blues Society. Blues 4u is a mainstay in local music and is the only band to play all 30 years of the WC Handy Blues and Barbecue Festival. Their longevity and talent made them the perfect selection.