Blues Cruise to feature favorites and newcomers
Sunday, May 04, 2014 12:00 AM
It’s only fitting the annual South Carolina Festival of Discovery and Greenwood Blues Cruise be a time of discovery for visitors to Greenwood July 10-12.
Greenwood Blues Cruise music coordinator Gary Erwin believes that.
“You will make discoveries. This is after all, the Festival of Discovery. The element of discovery is what I always try to incorporate in my blues programming,” Erwin said. “What’s always intrigued me about the blues and what drew me in in the first place was the element of discovery, the element of education, the element of being knocked out by something I didn’t know about, and just being open to something new and fresh and invigorating.”
The Greenwood Blues Cruise opens 6-830 p.m. July 10 Uptown Live show by Shirley Johnson and Maurice John Vaughn in Countybank Plaza on Main Street in Uptown Greenwood. There are 15 acts booked for this year’s free Greenwood Blues Cruise sponsored by the Index-Journal. The Festival of Discovery, which is a sanctioned Kansas City Barbeque Society event, and Greenwood Blues Cruise, are an annual celebration of barbecue and blues in Uptown Greenwood.
“That’s what we try to provide to the audience,” Erwin said. “Come out and give it a chance. You don’t even have to know about the blues. Even of you have preconceptions, come down and be like a sponge a soak it up. Undoubtedly you are going to be surprised. Any preconceptions you had before might be shattered by what your’re going to hear.”
Besides Shirley Johnson and Maurice John Vaughn, the lineup includes Mac Arnold and Plate Full O’ Blues, James Armstrong, The Blues Doctors, Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley, Daddy Mack Blues Band, Front Porch Three featuring John Hartness, Anthony Charles and Luckyman Beall, Hitman, Juke Joint Johnny and the Hurricanes, Robert Lighthouse, Bill Howl-n-Madd Perry and the Perry Family Band, Gail Storm, Freddie Vanderford with Brandon Turner, The King Bees and Erwin, who performs as Shrimp City Slim.
“It’s an interesting lineup this year. We’ve got a real good mix,” Erwin said, adding the lineup includes electric, acoustic, traditional, contemporary, solo, duo, band, male, female. “W’e got a real good smattering of things.”
Index-Journal executive editor Richard Whiting and Greenwood city manager Charlie Barrineau agree.
“Gary works real hard. He does an unbelievable service for us,” Barrineau said.
Whiting said, “Once again, Gary Erwin has come through with what promises to be a fantastic weekend of music to complement the Festival of Discovery. Barbecue and blues are a great combination, and as we head into the 14th year of this great festival, it is evident that Gary agrees. He consistently brings a great lineup to our Uptown Greenwood venues.”
Venues for Friday and Saturday include CenturyLink Main stage, Howard’s on Main, T.W. Boons, Mill House, Buffalo Grill, Sundance Gallery, Flynn’s on Maxwell, Polo’s, Arts Center of Greenwood.
Blues Cruise veterans including Gail Storm, Daddy Mack Blues Band from Memphis, Mac Arnold and Plate Full O’ Blues, Freddie Vanderford and Brandon Turner, Robert Lighthouse, The King Bees, Hitman, Front Porch Three featuring John Hartness, Anthony Charles and Luckyman Beall, and Adam Gussow, this time as a member of the Blues Doctors. Newcomers include Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley and Juke Joint Johnny and the Hurricanes.
“Gary is a master at being able to weave together artists that the Greenwood Blues Cruise has seen before, artists that we haven’t seen in a number of years and new artists that we’ve never seen. It’s a great mix of new and old,” Barrineau said.
Whiting said, “It’s great to see some returning artists, a testament to how much they enjoy playing at the Greenwood Blues Cruise, and we are glad to see Gary continue to bring in new performers. The Index-Journal is proud to once again sponsor the musical portion of this great festival and we look forward to seeing thousands of people discovering great musicians as much as discovering great barbecue.”
The Festival of Discovery and Greenwood Blues Cruise are well known among members of the barbecue and blues fraternities.
“The ‘cred’ and the reputation of the festival is such now that it’s out on the circuit and people will approach us,” Erwin said. “A lot of people want to come to South Carolina. We’ve got a pretty good profile in terms of presenting blues in this state. Greenwood has proven for 13 years to be a key player in that. We do have artists that want to explore a new market for their work.”
Barrineau said, “We have really grown the blues. We have worked really to add more money to the blues budget. The blues can keep growing. We’d love to have a Blues Cruise club crawl.”
That doesn’t mean rounding up artists is easy.
“Then, I spend a lot of time cajoling and persuading and nudging and prodding and seducing artists to come to Greenwood because I think they would be good for our mix. There’s sort of a blend, from a booking standpoint, of pro-activity and re-activity,” Erwin said. “More than anything else, I pursue the people I think would really be appropriate for what we’re doing and go after them, and then also accept a few that come to the door with their hat in their hand inquiring how to get in the program.”
Visitors will have multiple chances to discover the artists, with many of those playing indoor shows having time on the CenturyLink Main Stage.
“We’ve got something for everyone. What I tell people is, go where you can, when you can, and try to see it all,” Erwin said. “If you really like someone you have a chance to experience them in several different situations. I think that’s always very interesting because the challenges are different for the artists in each environment. All these people rise to the occasion because they’re professionals.”
If you go
6-8:30 p.m. - Uptown Live in Countybank Plaza - Shirley Johnson and Maurice John Vaughn
8-11 p.m. - Howard’s on Main - Shrimp City Slim
8-11 p.m. - T.W. Boons - The King Bees
8-11 p.m. - The Mill House - Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley
8-11 p.m. - Buffalo Grill- Hitman
8-11 p.m. - Sundance Gallery - Mac Arnold and Plate Full O’ Blues
8-10 p.m. - Flynn’s on Maxwell - Gail Storm
Noon-1 p.m. - CenturyLink Main Stage - Gail Storm
1:15-2 p.m. - CenturyLink Main Stage - Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteleyl
2:15-3 p.m. - CenturyLink Main Stage - Robert Lighthouse
6-8 p.m. - Arts Center - Front Porch Three
6-8:15 p.m. - CenturyLink Main Stage - Mississippi Juke Joint Night with The Blues Doctors and Bill Howl-n-Madd Perry and the Perry Family Band
8-10 p.m. - Flynn’s on Maxwell - Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley
9-11 p.m. - CenturyLink Main Stage - Daddy Mack Blues Band
9 p.m.-midnight - Howard’s on Main - Hitman
9 p.m.-midnight - T.W. Boons - Shirley Johnson and Maurice John Vaughn
9 p.m.-midnight - The MillHouse - Robert Lighthouse
9 p.m.-midnight - Buffalo Grill - The King Bees
9 p.m.-midnight - Polo’s - Gail Storm
10-11 a.m. - CenturyLink Main Stage - Shrimp City Slim
11 a.m.-noon - CenturyLink Main Stage - Robert Lighthouse
1-1:45 p.m. - CenturyLink Main Stage - Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley
2-3 p.m. - CenturyLink Main Stage - Juke Joint Johnny and the Hurricanes
3:15-4:45 p.m. - CenturyLink Main Stage - Bill Howl-n-Madd Perry and the Perry Family Band
7-10 p.m. - CenturyLink Main Stage - James Armstrong
9 p.m.-midnight - Howard’s on Main - Juke Joint Johnny and the Hurricanes
9 p.m.-midnight - T.W. Boons - The Blues Doctors
9 p.m.-midnight - The Mill House - Freddie Vanderford and Brandon Turner
9 p.m.-midnight - Buffalo Grill - Daddy Mack Blues Band
9 p.m.-midnight - Polo’s - Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley