28th Annual Blues Harmonica Blowout

Blues Harp Blowout musicians some with a harmonica poster

The 28th Annual Blues Harmonica Blowout is a Southern Harp spectacular! Headlining is 2017 GRAMMY winner for Best Traditional Blues Album Bobby Rush; Blues Music Award winner and GRAMMY nominated Kenny Neal; Alabama harp-man/vocalist/songwriter James Harman; New Orleans favorite Johnny Sansone; plus Mark Hummel’s Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue featuring Anson Funderburgh.

Bobby Rush is an American music icon, a legendary showman, a King of the Chitlin Circuit, and perhaps the most vital living Southern musician to have started his career on the Chicago blues scene in the 1950s. Rush is not your typical octogenarian. At age 84, he exudes the energy of a 20-year-old, and is on the road for over 200 dates a year. His hectic tour schedule has earned him the affectionate title “King of the Chitlin’ Circuit,” by Rolling Stone Magazine. Rush has traveled the globe and has performed in such faraway places as Japan and Beirut. In 2007, he earned the distinction of being the first blues artist to play at the Great Wall of China. His renowned stage act features his famed shake dancers, who personify his funky blues and the ribald humor that he has cultivated during the course of his storied career. A BLUES LEGEND!

If you want to experience the “Real Deal”, take time out to find 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).

Kenny’s 2016 release, Bloodline, was nomimated for a 2017 Grammy for Best Contemporary Blues Album and also won two 2017 BMAs (Blues Music Awards); one for Best Contemporary Blues Album and the other for Best Contemporary Male Blues Artist. 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!

JAMES HARMAN was born and raised in Anniston, Alabama-quickly picked up on the black blues and soul music being played on juke boxes and the radio. He sang in the church choir until age 16 when his family moved to Panama City Florida, where he found himself surrounded by like-minded blues lovers. Wearing a fake moustache, young James slipped into a still segregated black nightclub to see Little Junior Parker’s show. He was totally overtaken by the blues and soon became a regular, known as “That boy who sings like a man” by patrons.


Johnny Sansone started out early playing music. His father, a saxophonist who’d been in Dave Brubeck’s band during World War II, introduced him to the saxophone at age 8. Johnny picked up the guitar and harmonica by the time he was 10, and had a life changing experience at 12 when he saw a Howlin’ Wolf show in Florida. That was the moment the young Sansone knew he was destined to play the blues as his lifetime vocation. He sat in with Honeyboy Edwards at 13. During the 1970s Sansone studied with blues harmonica legends James Cotton and Jr. Wells. In the 1980s he toured with Ronnie Earl, John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Rodgers and Robert Lockwood Jr.

Johnny’s newest recording, HOPELAND, was produced by Anders Osborne, and features the North Mississippi Allstars. Offbeat Magazine’s review of HOPELAND praises Johnny for his instrumental prowess, particularly on harmonica and accordion, as well as his songwriting and bandleader talent. “… The energy level peaks so hard it could easily fly off the rails, but the perfectly balanced production from Osborne, and the finishing touches from Trina Shoemaker’s superb mixing, keep the buzz and distortion from turning into a train wreck. That’s how you catch lightning in a bottle.”

HOPELAND was the top selling record at Louisiana Music Factory during 2018 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

The Mark Hummel Golden State Lone Star Revue is an all-star, cross-country melding of musicians from California — Mark Hummel (harp-blower, vocalist, bandleader and Grammy nominee), R.W. Grigsby (bassist) — and Texans Anson Funderburgh (guitarist and Rockets bandleader), Mike Keller (Double Trouble, Fabulous Thunderbirds) and Wes Starr (famed Austin drummer who has played with a who’s who of Texas music royalty).

Hummel’s Blues Music Award nominated release; The Hustle Is Really On, features The Golden State Lone Star Revue, which has just completed a new recording for 2016 release. Besides producing and playing on Blind Pig’s Remembering Little Walter with Charlie Musselwhite, Billy Boy Arnold, Sugar Ray Norcia, James Harman, Little Charlie Baty, Nathan James, June Core and RW Grigsby, the CD was nominated for a Grammy Award and has recently won Best Blues Album and Best Traditional Blues Album of the year at the Blues Music Awards in Memphis, TN.

ANSON FUNDERBURGH – Born in 1954, Anson Funderburgh hails from Plano, Texas, where the youngster first picked up guitar. In high school, he got bit by the blues bug through Jimmy Reed and Lightning Hopkins. By 1978, he started Anson and The Rockets with vocalist/harp player Darrell Nulisch, and the group was signed by Black Top Records a couple years later. In 1986, Nulisch was replaced by Blind Sam Myers who stayed until his death in 2006. The Rockets went on to win 10 WC Handy Awards.

Funderburgh has played with Delbert McClinton (and joins his Sandy Beaches Cruise every year), Boz Scaggs, Snooks Eaglin, Grady Gaines, Earl King and Jimmy Buffett. Funderburgh is also the inspiration for Beavis (Beavis & Butthead); former bassist and creator of the characters, Mike Judge, worked as a Rocket for three years.

Vocalist/guitar phenom RUSTY ZINN resides in Oakland and has been on the blues scene since 1990, when he absorbed guitar from Chess Session guitarist Luther Tucker. Hummel gave Zinn his start in 1991, taking him all over the world and into the recording studio, both as a band and behind blues legends Jimmy Rogers, James Cotton and Billy Boy Arnold. By 1993 Kim Wilson hired Zinn into his band, where Rusty appeared on the Antones’ Tigerman LP. Zinn debuted in 1996 as a frontman singer on Black Top Records Sittin & Waitin, following it up with a second CD in 1999, Confessin, before the label folded. Rusty was nominated for a Handy Award for “best new artist” in 1999. Rusty’s vocals and guitar playing garnered rave reviews. Alligator Records recorded Rusty’s, The Chill in 2000. Zinn’s “in demand” sound landed him recording sessions with Kim, Rod Piazza, Little Charlie & the Nightcats, Hummel, Jody Williams, Phillip Walker, Fingers Taylor, Wee Willie Walker, Johnny Dyer, Johnny Jones, Indigo Swing, T 99 Nelson, Pinetop Perkins & Lou Pride. The last few years Rusty has pursued reggae and recorded with Sly & Robbie, Hux Brown among others.

MIKE KELLER grew up in a musical family, his parents were musicians and his father played jazz, soul and rock in local bands around the Fargo area. Growing up he was influenced by Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan and through them learned about the masters of the blues. Some of Mike’s influences include Kenny Burrell, Freddie, Albert and B.B. King, Otis Rush and Jimmy Reed and later the slide techniques of Elmore James, Earl Hooker and Robert Nighthawk. These influences are apparent in his guitar playing which is pretty amazing!

After getting an offer to play with Double Trouble (and becoming the first guitaist since Stevie Ray Vaughn), he moved back to Texas. “I did the Double Trouble gig for about two and half years, then played with Doyle Bramhall for four years, Marcia Ball for a year and a half, and then got the call to join the Fabulous Thunderbirds.

Rounding out the Golden State-Lone Star Revue are R.W. GRIGSBY on bass and famed Texas drummer WES STARR (Anson And The Rockets). Between these two old Rome, GA cronies, they’ve played with a who’s who of famed musicians – Omar & the Howlers, Jr. Brown, Jimmy Vaughn, Asleep At The Wheel, Gary Primich, Kim Wilson, Mike Morgan, Carlene Carter, Hal Ketchum, Earl King, James Cotton and many more!

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