Wow, The Old Capitol Blues & BBQ was incredible. Everything came together; a terrific line-up, good weather, a hard-working team of volunteers, great vendors and competitors, and fans that wanted to have fun and listen to great music.
Myself, and the ICBC want to thank the Old Capitol Blues & BBQ owners, Barry Friedman, Bernie Segatto, Kevan Stapleton, and Matt Farrell for allowing us to hold our blues challenge during this great festival and for putting your trust in us to put together your line-up.
We’d like to thank the incredible artists that all put on amazing shows. Kenny Neal, Eric Gales, Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials, Albert Castiglia, James Armstrong, and The Mary Jo Curry Band represent a broad pallet of blues styles, but they all possess the ability to connect with the crowd and put on outstanding performances. And what about Kilborn Alley playing the Alamo after-fest party with special guest Eugene Hideaway Bridges. And then Kenny Neal put on a killer performance with the band. Simply incredible.
We’d like to thank Mark Tate owner of the Luthier Shoppe, for doing an outstanding job managing the stage and providing technical support both nights. On Friday night, he worked with David Lumsden to work out a plan to keep the operation moving efficiently, and it worked well. Thanks to the backstage crew, Bill Davison, Bill Castor, Greg Hackett, Rusty Gentry, Dennis McGrath for doing what was needed to make the transitions between acts move like clockwork. These guys handled everything from unloading and loading equipment, making stage transitions, keeping parking areas clear for artists vehicles, being gate keepers, and any number of small details that were needed.
Many thanks to Doug Antonacci and The Music Shoppe on Stevenson for providing the drums and bass rig used by the main stage acts throughout the festival. This certainly helped make for a smooth operating stage.
Thank you to Cindi Goza, Lori Ann McCabe, and Gale for taking care of the artists lounge. It takes effort to keep things clean, stocked and readily available, while allowing the artists their space and privacy. Great job.
Thanks to Kathy Dauksza, Kathy Cooke, Janet Kennedy, John and Maryann Cartwright for handling merchandise for the Club and artist, and to Don Hudson for doing a great job with the 50/50.
We had a great solo/duo Blues Challenge. Michael Goza coordinated the event and MC’d the Challenge. He put together a team of 4 top notch judges: Charlie Bower from Jazz and Blues Florida, David Lumsden, Billinda Devillez, Alex Borisov, with scorekeeper, Bill Castor. Our competitors were all terrific this year: Susan Williams and Daryl Wright, King Neptune, Carl Long and Frank Trompeter, Tony Young and J Cole, Robert Sampson, and Marty Morris. They did a great job.
Lastly, we must thank Mary Jo Curry. Mary Jo performed on Friday night, sang the National Anthem both nights, and MC’d the entire event.
The 2017 Old Capitol Blues & BBQ will be held Friday and Saturday, August 25th & 26th, 2017! Check back for Updates on the Music and Chicken, Pork Ribs, Pork Shoulder, and Brisket Smokin’ Competition Event of the Year in Downtown Springfield!
The 2017 Old Capitol Blues & BBQ is proud to announce an incredible line-up of acts that will satisfy the tastes of hard core blues fans as well as everyone that just loves to party to great exciting music!
Opening the Blues portion of the 2017 Old Capitol Blues & BBQ on Friday, August 25, will be Springfield’s own Mary Jo Curry Blues Band followed by The Albert Castiglia Band! Albert Castiglia was nominated for two 2017 Blues Music Awards – Contemporary Blues Male Artist and Rock Blues Album. Closing out Friday night will be Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials! Lil’ Ed Williams received 2017 Blues Music Award nominations for B.B. King Entertainer and Traditional Blues Male Artist and Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials are Two Time Blues Music Awards Band of the Year and were nominated again in 2017.
Saturday night, August 26, of the 2017 Old Capitol Blues & BBQ the Blues will start off with Blues Music Award Nominee and Catfood Records recording artist, The James Armstrong Band. Followed by the one and only Eric Gales, considered one of the finest blues rock guitarists on the scene today. Eric can list guitar heroes in his fan base. He possesses a unique amalgam of styles, Eric Gales stands head and and shoulders among other guitarists in his genre. And finishing the evening is Kenny Neal, who took home two 2017 BMA’s: Contemporary Blues Male Artist; and Contemporary Blues Album (“Bloodlines”) and was nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album.
WOW…You don’t want to miss this one! The 2017 Old Capitol Blues & BBQ stage at 5th & Adams will definitely be The Place To BE August 25th and 26th! Entrance fee is only $5 / day for all of this incredible entertainment.
AUGUST 25th Lineup
6:00 pm – Mary Jo Curry Band
7:45 pm – Albert Castiglia Band
9:45 pm – Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials
9:45 pm – Lil’ Ed and the Blues Imperials
Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials, two time past winners, were nominated for Band of the Year and Lil’ Ed Williams received nominations for the B.B. King Entertainer of the Year and Traditional Blues Male Artist at the 2017 Blues Music Awards! In Chicago, a city overflowing with unrivaled blues talent, world-renowned Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials have been standing tall for almost 30 years. The band’s big sound, fueled by Lil’ Ed’s gloriously rollicking slide work and deep blues string bending, along with his rough-edged, soulful vocals, is as real and hard-hitting as Chicago blues gets. 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.” Lil’ Ed Williams comes to the blues naturally. His uncle, Chicago slide guitar king and master songwriter J.B. Hutto, taught him how to feel, not just play the blues. Nine albums and thousands of performances later, Lil’ Ed is now universally hailed as a giant of the genre. Lil’ Ed and The Blues Imperials bassist (and Ed’s half-brother) James “Pookie” Young, guitarist Mike Garrett and drummer Kelly Littleton have remained together for nearly 30 years (an extraordinary feat for any group), the band fueling Ed’s songs with their rock-solid, road-tested, telepathic musicianship. Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials released eight Alligator albums between 1986 and 2012. With each one, the band’s national and international stature grew as their fan base, known internationally as “Ed Heads”, continued to expand. With 2006’s album Rattleshake, Ed and company reached a whole new audience. Die-hard “Ed Head” Conan O’Brien brought the band before millions of television viewers on two separate occasions. Success and accolades never stop pouring in. Living Blues called 2012’s album Jump Start “scorching and soulful” with “crafty, clever lyrics…joyous and stomping.” The group took home the Living Blues Award for Best Live Performer in 2011, 2012 and 2013. They won the prestigious Blues Music Award for Band Of The Year in both 2007 and 2009. The Associated Press says, “Williams fills Chicago’s biggest shoes with more life and heat than anyone on stage today.”
7:45 pm – Albert Castiglia Band
Blues guitarist Albert Castiglia was born in New York on August 12, 1969. Five years later his parents moved to Miami, where Castiglia began learning guitar. By the age of 12, he began playing local gigs and did so consistently throughout high school. Following completion of his college education, Castiglia worked as a social service investigator while playing gigs at night and on weekends around South Florida. In 1990 he joined Miami Blues Authority, and was the group’s lead guitarist and vocalist for over seven years. After an audition with Chicago blues harp legend Junior Wells in 1997, Castiglia become the permanent lead guitarist for Wells’ Hoodoo Man’s Band. Following Junior’s death in 1998, the band stayed together long enough to open shows for blues belter Sandra Hall. In 2001 Castiglia began writing his own material with the help of Graham Drout, guitarist and vocalist with the Miami-based band Iko Iko. With Drout’s assistance, Castiglia released his debut CD, Burn, in 2002, followed four years later by A Stone’s Throw on Blues Leaf Records. Castiglia stayed on Blues Leaf Records for the next six years, releasing three more records — These Are the Days (2008), Keepin On (2010), and Living the Dream (2012) — and then he moved to Ruf Records in 2014 for Solid Ground. A live album arrived in 2015, followed by the studio set Big Dog in 2016. Castiglia has variously worked alongside Junior Wells, Sandra Hall, Aron Burton, Pinetop Perkins, Melvin Taylor, Sugar Blue, Phil Guy, Ronnie Earl, Billy Boy Arnold, Ronnie Baker Brooks, John Primer, Lurrie Bell, Jerry Portnoy, Larry McCray, Eddy Clearwater and Otis Clay.
6:00 pm – Mary Jo Curry Band
Mary Jo Curry, a powerful singer and entertainer whose stage presence and interaction with the audience will keep you engaged for the entire set. Legendary blues artist, James Armstrong, said “She has a voice, confidence, and stage presence that is hard to find these days. ” Internationally known radio host, Peter Merrett from Melbourne Australia said, “She was born to sing the Blues because this voice cannot be taught to you but rather has to come from deep down in one’s soul. Apart from possessing a mesmerizing voice she can write one helluva’ Blues song.”
Her debut album hit #1 on the Roots Music Report’s Classic Blues Chart, with 3 songs making it to the #1 position. The album finished at #5 for 2016, with 4 songs finishing in the Top 10 for 2016. Her songs are played on radio stations around the world and have gotten great reviews from blues publications from around the world. Her album and live performances have received high praise from blues scene heavyweights, even being honored with a 2016 Kankakee Area Blues Artist of the Year, and playing in Memphis, TN at the prestigious Blind Raccoon Showcase, held during the 2017 International Blues Challenge.
After a stellar Old Capitol Blues and BBQ Festival performance in 2016 (also holding down the MC duties for the weekend) she was the first choice by the Festival owners to perform once again this year.
August 26th Lineup
5:45 pm – James Armstrong
7:45 pm – Eric Gales
9:45 pm – Kenny Neal
9:45 pm – Kenny Neal
One of the strongest modern proponents of Baton Rouge swamp blues, Kenny Neal is a second-generation southern Louisiana bluesman who is cognizant of the region’s venerable blues tradition and imaginative enough to steer it in fresh directions. Neal was born on October 14, 1957 in New Orleans. His dad, harpist Raful Neal, was a Baton Rouge blues mainstay whose pals included Buddy Guy and Slim Harpo (the latter gave three-year-old Kenny his first harmonica). At age 13, Neal was playing in his father’s band, and at 17, landed a job playing bass for Buddy Guy. The guitarist recruited some of his talented siblings to form the Neal Brothers Blues Band up in Toronto (brother Noel later played bass behind James Cotton; five other Neal brothers also play in various bands) before returning stateside. In 1987, Kenny Neal cut his debut LP for Florida producer Bob Greenlee, an updated swamp feast initially released by Kingsnake Records as ‘Bio on the Bayou’. The following year, Alligator Records signed Neal and reissued the debut under the title ‘Big News from Baton Rouge’! Young Neal was on his way. Neal’s sizzling guitar work, sturdy harp, and gravelly, aged-beyond-his-years vocals served him well, and he cut four albums for Alligator Records between 1989 and 1994. An acclaimed 1991 stint On Broadway in a production of Mule Bone found him performing acoustic versions of Langston Hughes’ poetry set to music by Taj Mahal. In 1998, Neal moved from Alligator to the blues division of the jazz-based Telarc Records, releasing three albums for the label: ‘Blues Fallin’ Down Like Rain’ (1998), ‘What You Got’ (2000), and ‘One Step Closer’ (2001). In the new millennium, Neal recorded sets for a variety of independent labels, including ‘Easy Meeting’ (a 2003 collaboration with Billy Branch), ‘Double Take’ (2004, a one-shot return to Alligator), and ‘A Tribute to Slim Harpo and Raful Neal’ (released in 2005 for True Life Entertainment). Three years later, Neal hooked up with Blind Pig Records and released ‘Let Life Flow’ in 2008, once again incorporating his gritty Louisiana roots with a sophisticated Chicago/Memphis soul approach. A second Blind Pig release, ‘Hooked on Your Love’, appeared two years later in 2010. In 2015, Neal released his first holiday-themed album, ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’. It was his first album for Cleopatra Records, which also issued his latest critically acclaimed release, ‘Bloodline’ in 2016.
In the last few years, Kenny has relocated back to Baton Rouge and has spent much of his time around home with Family, writing songs, riding horses and working on his collection of vintage cars, but has come to realize that life on the road is his life. You can bet on seeing Kenny Neal and his band of Brothers (Darnell Neal on Bass and Fred Neal on Keys) back on the road and better than ever in 2017. They are joined by longtime drummer and friend, Bryan Morris and new addition to the band, Alphonso “AG” Guillory on horns. Kenny Neal, a true living blues Legend is THE REAL DEAL and more poised than ever to deliver the blues like no one else can!
7:45 pm – Eric Gales
Eric Gales grew up in a musical family with four brothers, two of them who learned to play the guitar upside down and left handed in the same fashion that Eric does. Eric’s brother Eugene Gales played bass in the Eric Gales Band and his brother Jimmy King had a thriving career as a blues artist before his untimely death. Eric released his first record at Age 16 for Elektra records to an amazing response from the media and music fans around the globe. Guitar World Magazine’s Reader’s Poll named Eric as “Best New Talent,” in 1991. After recording a second record for Elektra, all three brothers teamed up for The Gales Brothers “Left Hand Brand” which was recorded for the House of Blues label in 1996. Through the years, it would not be unusual to look out in the audience and see artists like Carlos Santana, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, B.B. King and Eric Clapton looking on with interest as Eric took his God-given talent and worked crowd after crowd into a frenzy. The new Millennium presented new opportunities for Eric and he was signed to a deal with Nightbird Records which was affiliated with the Hendrix family and distributed through MCA/Universal. Under this deal, Eric recorded the critically acclaimed record “That’s What I Am” in 2001 and hit the road, mesmerizing fans around the world with his uncanny connection to his guitar. In 2006 Eric recorded the critically acclaimed CD “Crystal Vision” for Blues Bureau and set the stage for his incredible Blues Bureau follow-up, “The Psychedelic Underground.” in 2007. Eric followed sharply in 2008 with “The Story of my Life” and in 2010 hit a new stride altogether with the incredibly successful album “Relentless”. That album combined with his latest studio album “Transformation” released in 2011 set the stage for his Double Live Album/DVD released in October of 2012. As both an African-American left-handed guitarist of extraordinary ability and an expressive vocalist, it is natural for people to compare Eric to Hendrix but Eric has developed a unique hybrid blues/rock sound that also draws upon influences as diverse as Albert King and Eric Johnson. A unique amalgam of styles, Eric Gales stands head and shoulders among other guitarists in his genre.
5:45 pm – The James Armstrong Band
James Armstrong’s father was a jazz guitarist and his mother a blues singer. Having learned the guitar at a young age, Armstrong formed his first band at school, and was touring the United States in his late teens. Inspired by Albert King and Robert Cray, his musical education included backing musicians such as Albert Collins, Big Joe Turner and Smokey Wilson. Armstrong relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area and, in 1995, released his debut album, Sleeping with a Stranger, on HighTone. However, in April 1997, Armstrong was almost stabbed to death by an intruder at his home. The shoulder injury necessitated months of rehabilitation, which still left Armstrong with limited guitar playing ability in his left hand. He adjusted his playing style, hired a lead guitar player, and realized that playing slide guitar helped to slowly recover his dexterity. His second, introspective, album, Dark Night, was issued in 1998. It incorporated Joe Louis Walker and Doug MacLeod playing lead guitar on a couple of the songs. The album track, “Bank of Love”, was used in the films Hear No Evil and The Florentine. Armstrong recommenced live performances on the blues festival circuit, with a noteworthy appearance at the 1999 Pocono Blues Festival in Pennsylvania. In early 2000, Armstrong returned to the recording studio to work on his next album, Got It Goin’ On. He was aided in the project by utilizing Walker’s rhythm section, plus a guest appearance from the keyboardist Jim Pugh. In 2001, Armstrong’s song “Pennies and Picks” from Got It Goin’ On, earned him a W.C. Handy Award nomination for ‘Song of the Year’. Armstrong himself was nominated for ‘Contemporary Male Blues Guitarist of the Year’. “2 Sides,” another song from Got It Goin’ On was included in the film soundtrack for Speechless. James has worked with Albert Collins, Keb’ Mo’, Coco Montoya, Roy Brown, Chaka Khan, Ricky Lee Jones, Jan and Dean, Mitch Mitchell and Tommy Castro. Armstrong’s 2011 release on CatFood Records, Blues At The Border, was his first recording in 11 years. James released Guitar Angels on Catfood Records in 2014. In 2016 James Armstrong started his own record label, Guitar Angels Records.