Celebrating 20 Years of Tradition July 13-14 at the Hayward Russell City Blues Festival!

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By Rick Snyder

(HAYWARD, CA) – The Hayward Russell City Blues Festival is a celebration honoring the vibrant Blues tradition of the area. July 13-14 will mark the 20th annual and will be held once again at Hayward City Hall Plaza (77 B Street, Hayward, California).

Russell City always had a rich musical culture. The blues tradition grew from African Americans whose Southern roots influenced the music. Saturday nights clubs were filled with the sounds of the Blues and Sunday mornings the churches were filled with the sounds of Gospel.

Russell City is a landmark on the map of America’s contributions to world culture giving Hayward a unique musical leg reflecting the African-American experience.

In 1999 the West Coast Blues Society began the Hayward Russell City Blues Festival as a joint venture with the City of Hayward, a celebration honoring the vibrant Blues tradition of the area. 2019 will be the 20th Year of the annual festival, making it one of the oldest continuous Blues festivals in the West.

This 20th Anniversary Celebration line-up is absolutely amazing.

Saturday, July 13th includes Oakland Sam, the Stars of Glory then the Blues Harmonica Explosion featuring Big Harp George (the only blues artist featuring the chromatic harmonica), Vinnie Flores, Silver Foxx, Roharpo, and Kyle Rowland closing out the Blues Harmonica Explosion. Kyle was voted the 2009 West Coast Blues Hall of Fame “Blues Harmonica Player of the Year” and “Blues New Artist of The Year” and has been dominating the stage since the tender age of 10 years old. 

Next up are Johnie B and Queen Iretta Sanders, a powerful and strong blues couple; the versatile and soulful Mr. Alvon Johnson, a true showman; and Johnny Rawls, a soul-blues legend who has been acknowledged by The Blues Music Awards and W.C Handy Awards, Blues Blast Awards, Living Blues Critics Poll Awards with multiple awards and nominations, including “Soul Blues Album of the Year” and “Soul Blues Male Artist of the Year;” Leon Atkins, better known as Lil’ Jimmy Reed, will deliver classic Louisiana down-home blues tradition; Lucious Spiller whose performance is one that you can easily imagine from the 1930’s; Lonnie Shields from West Helena, AR is genuinely one of the finest of the next generation of the blues deeply rooted in Gospel, soul, and R&B

Sunday, July 14 kicks off with Guitar Mac and His Blues Express, pure Mississippi Delta Blues followed by the Gospel of the Chosen Wonders. The Russell City Memorial Blues Band features Lee Ashford, Bobby “Hurricane” Spencer, Terrible Tom Bowden and Filmore Slim; Oakland Blues Divas feature Baby Bee, DeJean Burkes, Margie Turner, Xymphoni and, Earnestine Barze. There’s LaQuinta, aka Stevens Daughter; Blind Lemon Peel; Lucky Lloyd; Sonny Green’s Southern Soul Blues performed with grit, wit, and sartorial splendor; and Chuck Wallace.

The West Coast Blues Caravan of All-Stars is a powerhouse revue put together to showcase some of the unsung heroes of West Coast Blues consisting of Ronnie Stewart lead guitar; Robert “Hollywood” Jenkins, rhythm guitar; Art Hafen T-Bone, guitar; Legendary Fillmore Slim, guitar; Jock Shock, guitar; Dalhart Johnson, bass guitar; Skip Hudson, bass guitar; David “Stix” Boyette, drums; Danielle Wamsley on drums; Tovia, drums; Jimmy Jr., drums; Carl Green, Phillip Reynolds, and the “Sweet Meat Horn Section.” Featured vocalists include Terrible Tom Bowden, Willie G, Tommy Nunnelly and Karl Bracy.

Southern Soul is the best way to say, Ira Walker; Stoney B grew up listening to the blues (his father is Lil’ Howling Wolf) and has strong influences from Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Jimmy Reed; Sonny Rhodes continues to be a road warrior with his virtuosity on lap steel guitar and electric guitar. He has been nominated fifteen times for the Blues Music Awards and won the “Instrumentalist-Other” category in 2011; Carl Weathersby is soul-blues singer, guitarist, and songwriter who has worked with Albert King and Billy Branch, among others and was nominated for W.C. Handy for Best New Blues Artist in 1997.

The Blues is a condition, Blues Music is the cure! 




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