Featuring The Best Entertainment Lineup To Date; This Year’s New Attractions To Include A Very Special Ticketed V.I.P. Area

The 9th Annual Ventura County Blues Festival on Saturday, April 26, 2014 returns to Moorpark College and features its best lineup to date with performances by Fabulous Thunderbirds front man, Kim Wilson’s Blues All-Stars; premier Southern California-based record label Delta Groove Records’ own Delta Groove All-Star Blues Revue featuring Sugaray Rayford with Kid Ramos and friends; soulful vocalist extraordinaire, Sista Monica Parker; festival favorites making a command return appearance, Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers; the stellar band fronted by VCBS President, Michael John and The Bottom Line and friends, including BMA nominee, vocalist Karen Lovely; and VCBS Band Challenge winner, Lightnin’ Willie.

Returning as Celebrity Emcee is noted actor-musician, Mickey Jones (Trini Lopez, Bob Dylan, The First Edition; and currently a regular on FX hit TV series, “Justified”). Food and craft vendors, guitar giveaway, and, for the first time, a Ticketed V.I.P. area. Benefits the American Diabetes Association and community charities. Presale General Admission tickets $20. in advance, $30. at the gate; V.I.P. tickets $100. (limited quantity available). More information at www.venturacountyblues.com.

“We’re very excited about the 2014 festival,” says festival founder/Ventura County Blues Society President, Michael John. “This event opens many doors for service clubs in Ventura County and supports Moorpark College. New this year we have a Ticketed V.I.P area with private shade, restrooms and a bar. (The V.I.P. area) also includes a festival t-shirt, poster, two drink tickets, complimentary water and early entrance into the festival. We have had so many people ask us to do this, and your wish is our command.” Past festivals have entertained more than 4,000 people with acts like Blues Hall of Fame inductee Charlie Musselwhite, and last year, special guest George Thorogood.

Kim Wilson’s Blues All-Stars: Kim Wilson is an American blues singer and harmonica player. He is best known as the lead vocalist and front man for The Fabulous Thunderbirds on two hit songs of the 1980s; “Tuff Enuff”, and “Wrap It Up.” Wilson was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1951, but grew up in Goleta, California, where he sometimes went by the stage name of “Goleta Slim.” He started with the blues in the late 1960s and was tutored by people like Muddy Waters, Jimmie Rogers, Eddie Taylor, Albert Collins, George “Harmonica” Smith, Luther Tucker and Pee Wee Crayton and was influenced by harmonica players like Little Walter, James Cotton, Big Walter Horton, Slim Harpo and Lazy Lester. Before he moved to Austin, Texas in 1974, he was the leader of the band Aces, Straights and Shuffles in Minneapolis, Minnesota; this band released one single. In Austin he formed The Fabulous Thunderbirds with guitarist Jimmie Vaughan, and they became the house band at the blues club, Antone’s, owned by Clifford Antone. Muddy Waters called Wilson, “The greatest harmonica player since Little Walter”. Wilson continues to perform up to 300 concert dates per year at blues music festivals and clubs all over the world, both as leader of The Fabulous Thunderbirds and with the Kim Wilson Blues All-stars. His powerful style of blues harp playing has been described as “loaded with the textures of a full-blown horn section.” .

Delta Groove All Star Revue Featuring Sugaray Rayford & Friends: When Sugaray belts out a song, you not only hear it, you feel it. The excitement in the room is palpable when he takes the stage; he is a superb vocalist and entertainer. His dynamic voice is large just like the man. With his old school vocal style, echoes of Muddy Waters, Otis Redding and Teddy Pendergrass can be heard. At 6’5” he is a big man, but he moves with grace and energy. His fluid dance steps will remind you of the Legendary James Brown. After moving to Los Angeles several years ago, Sugaray was asked to host a blues jam at Cozy’s in Sherman Oaks. It is through this venue that Sugaray met and played with innumerable world-class musicians. Suga’s desire to explore and expand his musical vision has been nourished by these musicians while his solo career has flourished in L.A. Sugaray has fronted his own band since 2010, called the Sugaray Rayford Band made up of world-class musicians including Ralph Carter on bass who is also his writing partner, Gino Matteo on guitar, Leo Dombecki on keyboards, Lavelle Jones on drums, Allan Walker on Sax, and Gary Bivona on trumpet. But the Sugaray Rayford Band is only one of his projects. As of May 2011, Sugaray became one of the lead vocalists for the Mannish Boys, who are under Delta Groove management. This international act performs 6-8 times a year. He sang lead vocals on 9 songs on Double Dynamite the Mannish Boys latest CD that won Best Traditional Blues Album in May 2013 at the Blues Music Awards. His first solo CD Blind Alley was a self-release in 2010, which garnered critical acclaim. His second solo CD Dangerous, was just released last September under the Delta Groove label, debuting at # 2 on Blues Debut Chart and #6 on the Roots Music Chart.

Sista Monica Parker: She’s Blues! She’s Soul! She’s Gospel! and She ROCKS!Sista Monica Parker ‘The Blues Lioness’ is an award-winning singer/songwriter and performer. Her eleventh CD release “Living In the Danger Zone” recently earned a 2012 and 2013 BMA nomination for “Best Soul Blues Female Artist of the Year” by the Blues Foundation. Since then, she has traveled and toured worldwide and has been recognized for her captivating stage presence and rich contralto vocal power. Born in Gary, Indiana, Monica developed her vocal chops between Chicago and Detroit singing in church choirs and listening to singers on the city streets. Since those days she has stormed through the music scene traveling and performing major festivals and concerts venues in countries such as Italy, France, Holland, Greece, Canada, Norway, Mexico, and Spain. Sista Monica is dynamic string of melodies from up tempo Chicago style blues, heartfelt soulful ballads to feel good gospel – She brings her roots and connects with the audience with her own unique charisma. She sings, coos, belts, croons, and shouts according to her hearts delight and her fan’s amazement. She’s considered to be one of the best soul blues female performers in the country. Come see, hear and enjoy Sista Monica. http://www.sistamonica.com/.

Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers: Whether Jimmy Thackery headlines a festival in South Dakota or jams for hours in one of numerous blues bars that dot the musical landscape, he’ll always unleash an intense volley of rockin’ blues guitar guaranteed to leave crowds emotionally spent. His double edged guitar dynamics allow him to fire off tracer missiles, bend a note so it will fit under a limbo bar, run off dive bomber riffs, and find space within the trembling of one stinging note. “I put all my senses on hold and find the zone and follow what’s inside. There’s an electricity from your mind to your heart to your fingers. You just try and remember to breathe.” He’s one of the few blues guitarists who learned first hand from the masters of the blues, not off a blues record or DVD. Though most associate Jimmy with his 15 years as the co-founder of the Nighthawks, he ended his time with them in 1987. Since then, Jimmy has been on the road as a solo musician for 15 years doing nearly 300 shows a year proving each night that he is still the guitar powerhouse in the blues. Thackery has lived the life of a true road warrior; he’s absorbed the artistic lessons of life and filtered them into his guitar playing and song writing. To get where he is today, Jimmy has journeyed a highway of life filled with a series of twists and turns. He met all the right people and they have had a permanent influence on him. It was Thackery’s time on stage with Muddy Waters that is branded deep within his musical soul. “Muddy was one of those guys who was constantly encouraging. He never told you what to do, but he always told you what you were doing wrong. He never minced words about that.” http://www.jimmythackery.com/.

Along With Very Special Performances By:
Michael John & The Bottom Line And Friends With Karen Lovely: Michael John, Founder and President of the Ventura County Blues Society, is also the Founder of the Ventura County Blues Festival and leads his band The Bottom Line. Since the festival’s inception, Michael John & The Bottom Line have performed and donated their music which now has become an annual tradition for the festival kick off. When you combine family and lifelong friends you get a special musical bond that touches the hearts and souls of all music lovers alike. The band consists of Michael John (lead singer, guitar, harmonica), Michael John’s son Mikey Mo (lead guitar), Steve Nelson (electric, stand-up Bass), Eddie Z (tenor, alto sax), Jeff Dellisanti (tenor, baritone sax), and Tom “T-Bone” Broderick (drums, backup vocals). The group attracts people of all ages with their blend of Swing to more contemporary rocking blues. They have received national airplay and have won multiple awards including placing in the top ten bands in the finals for the International Blues Challenge in Memphis Tennessee. Michael is a past recipient of the All Access Magazine award for Best Male Vocalist. http://www.michaeljohnandthebottomline.com/. Special guest vocalist Karen Lovely shot onto the blues scene out of the Pacific Northwest like Stack O’ Lee’s .44 placing second at the 2010 International Blues Challenge followed by three 2011 Blues Music Award Nominations for BEST CONTEMPORARY BLUES FEMALE ARTIST, BEST CONTEMPORARY BLUES ALBUM and BEST SONG for her sophomore release STILL THE RAIN. Karen is a two time “#1 Pick to Click” artist on XM Radio Bluesville and has just been selected as the 2014 Featured Blues artist by KJZZ FM in Los Angeles. Lovely’s records have topped the national blues and roots charts and made the Top 10 favorite artist list for dozens of nationally syndicated radio stations. Known for her passionate, driven performances and always backed by stellar musicians, this powerhouse vocalist delivers a blistering mix of contemporary & old school blues. Lovely’s standout performances have garnered awards, critical acclaim and standing ovations at festivals and venues throughout the US, Canada and Europe. www.karenlovely.com.

Lightnin’ Willie: Emerging from the clubs and bars of the U.S Blues scene, Lightnin’ Willie is an accomplished and hard-working guitarist, vocalist and songwriter. Now based in Los Angeles, Willie is a seasoned musician who has paid his dues. With four albums under his belt, this eloquent storyteller has his own story of time on the road, personal loss, fresh beginnings and an over-riding love of playing the “Devil’s Music.”

Originally from Texas, this blues-man’s years of steady gigging have given him as much polish as his performance. He is tall, with an expressive face, piercing eyes, and the kind of confident all-American swagger that allows you to walk up to total strangers on the street and introduce yourself. Lightnin’ Willie and the Poorboys are by no means destitute. In fact the musical vein they mine is rich indeed. They steer away from dry academia and combine a seductive exchange of swinging Blues and R&B with a hint of Rockabilly. A lively, interactive, face-to-face approach to their music has had audiences waving their banner throughout the United States and Europe for over ten years. http://www.lightninwillie.com/.

9th Annual Ventura County Blues Festival Media/Photo Passes Available.

About The Author

Hailing from Boston and now residing in the Metro Detroit area, Mick has spent several years photographing concerts and interviewing musicians in the music industry. After spending a few years shooting and writing for MOTORCITYBLOG.net, he founded and started the National Rock Review in the fall of 2013. Recruiting staffers from around the world, he has led the National Rock Review team in to a respected and established publication in the online music news/press industry in a short period of time.

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