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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Deep Blues Festival July 16 2011

For more info, contact Ted Drozdowski at 615-730-7916 or


Blues, country, punk rock, folk and old timey music all intersect at Cleveland’s historic Beachland Balllroom on Saturday, July 16, for the fourth Deep Blues Festival — a unique event that spans the deepest American musical traditions and the cutting edge.

The festival features 10 dirty roots bands from the rising “Deep Blues” underground movement. These bands, many of whom tour internationally, will play continuously in the Beachland’s main room from 5 p.m. until closing. The Beachland Ballroom is at 15711 Waterloo Road, Cleveland. Call 216-383-1124. Tickets are $20 and available in advance at; The Beachland also offers special hotel discounts, etc., for travelers. Please visit their web site for details.


The Deep Blues Festival was started in 2007 outside of Minneapolis by Chris Johnson, a fan of dirty blues based and influenced music of all kinds. He based its name on a term coined by the late, great musicologist Robert Palmer, who borrowed the phrase “Deep Blues” from the giant Muddy Waters to describe the gritty, artful sound of music rooted in the Mississippi Delta and hill country — both electric and acoustic blues that bridges the traditional and the modern. Palmer published a book of the same title in 1982 and collaborated with director Robert Mugge to make a film of the same name in 1990. Mugge’s film, in turn, took the music to a much broader audience.

After the 2009 Deep Blues Festival, founder Johnson chose not to continue the event — but in the two years since the last Deep Blues Festival an underground movement has continued to grow. Today the Deep Blues scene has a community of bands and fan throughout the world and Deep Blues Festival 2011 provides a gathering place for that community to once again come together and enjoy a living blend of some of the most deeply rooted and cutting edge sounds in blues-based music today.

Deep Blues Festival 2011 is unique because it is an entirely band driven event. It is being organized by the participating bands and the Beachland. Johnson remains the event’s spiritual father and a volunteer advisor.


In the weeks before the festival, many of the bands involved will be traveling across the country and in particular in the Midwest as they gather and head to the festival. Look for the Misery Jackals in the Akron area; Boom Chick heading west from NYC; Molly Gene as she travels east from Kansas, and various combinations of Scissormen, 10 Foot Polecats and Left Lane Cruiser banding together with other artists, including Molly Gene and Mark Holder, in Nashville, Chicago, the Minneapolis area, Lansing and Fort Wayne. Details are available on the band’s web sites, listed below.


Boom Chick: Frank Hoier and drummer Moselle comprise this electric guitar and drums rock ‘n’ roll duo out of Brooklyn, NY, who mix surf music, ’50s ballads and slide guitar blues to make good on all the things rock ‘n’ roll promised us so long ago.;

Cashman: Led by Houston raised singer-guitarist Ray Cashman, the Nashville-based group that bears his name weaves the sound of Mississippi hill country juke joint blues ala R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough into a powerful stew captured on two riveting, raucous albums.;

Left Lane Cruiser: The pride of Fort Wayne, Indiana’s garage roots scene, this duo blend the authority and soul of Muddy Waters and R.L. Burnside into their own bone-crunching sound. As their name implies, they are road warriors extraordinaire, touring widely in the U.S. and Europe. Their music appeared in the 2010 season of TV’s Breaking Bad. Their fourth and latest album Junkyard Speedball has just been released.;

Mark “Porkchop” Holder: One of the true pioneers of the modern Deep Blues scene thanks to his earlier role as guitarist in the Black Diamond Heavies, Chattanooga, Tennessee’s Mark Holder puts his own spin on country blues, writing songs and delivering them in a solo performing style that’s an perfect mix of truth and virtuosity. His latest disc is Fry Pharmacy.;

• Misery Jackals: This Akron, OH, quintet bust out their special blend of old school punk rock on acoustic instruments. They wail on banjo, accordion, guitar, bass, drums and whatever else they can find to produce a one of a kind experience of “Pillbilly Browngrass.” One time a patron at a music venue asked “The Misery Jackals? What kind of music do they play?” The bartender replied “I don’t know man, they’re just f$<#ing awesome!”;

“Mississippi” Gabe Carter: Solo dirty blues with a Mississippi regional flavor is this Chicagoan’s specialty, reminiscent of the MS hill country’s Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside, and his Bentonia mentors Jack Owens and Jimmy “Duck” Holmes. His latest album is LIVE At Duke’s With Uncle Walt.;

Molly Gene One Whoaman Band: True to her name, Warrensburg, Missouri’s Molly Gene cuts her music to the bone, playing guitar, harmonica and foot drum while singing like a ghost from the Delta flatlands out for vengeance. She tours extensively and had a wildly successful tour with Bob Log III in 2010. Molly Gene is rapidly earning a reputation for her high-powered performances.
Her latest album is Hillbilly Love.;

• Old Gray Mule featuring C.W. Ayon: Juke joint blues is this Austin band’s specialty — once again echoing, in particular, the electric blues sounds of the Mississippi hills as minted by the Burnside and Kimbrough families. For the Deep Blues Festival 2011 they’ll be joined by Las Cruses, New Mexico’s C.W. Ayon, who usually performs as a foot stompin’, guitar slingin’ one-man band.;;

• Scissormen: This Nashville-based guitar and drums duo carry a style straddling the oldest blues traditions and modernist turns like daring improvisation and sonic experimentation, without betraying the music’s lowdown, dirty roots. With four albums and a new Robert Mugge directed movie starring Scissormen called BIG SHOES: Walking and Talking the Blues now playing at festivals, they are earning a reputation for high-energy live concerts in the US and Europe.;

• Ten Foot Polecats: This blazing trio is from the Boston-area, but they sound like hard-bred juke joint dogs from the Mississippi hills. Nonetheless, their appeal is wide and their churning, psychedelic-yet-downhome sound is gaining them fans in the rock, punk and psychobilly circuits along with the traditional blues scene. Their latest album is I Get Blamed For Everything I Do.;

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