End of Bluesfest Annual ProJam: Don’t miss this great Blues Party
Billy Flynn is an American Chicago blues and electric blues guitarist, singer and songwriter.
Have Bass Will Travel…. I was born in South East Missouri in a small town Haiti, where I lived on a farm. I moved to Chicago in 1955. I lived in the back of a night club on the West Side, where Howling Wolf and Muddy Waters played. It looked like they were having a lot of fun and I made up my mind that what I wanted to do was play music. I got married at an early age and I used to watch my brother-in-law play music. His name was Johnny Ferguson and he and JB Hutto had a band they called the Twisters. They were working on 39’th and State Street in Chicago and I would carry them to work every night and watch them. Then at home I would try to teach myself to play. My cousin Ralph Ramey said that we should start a band and we did just that. We got my brother (John Stroger), who played the drums, to learn the songs we knew and in four months we were making some noise. We went to a club and played two songs and the man said we had a job. It was one of the better clubs, where musicians like Memphis Slim worked. The owner wanted us to wear uniforms but we had no money to buy them, so we got black tams and put a red circle in the top and called the band the Red Tops and that was the way it started. We got so good that they wanted the band to travel, but Ralph’s wife did not wont him to travel. so my brother formed a band with Willie Kent and myself and called it Joe Russel and the Blues Hustlers. We played together for a while,but eventually I decided to move on, because i wanted to travel more and see the world and I found out you can make money doing this. I joined a jazz band and played with Rufus Forman for about 3 years, but we were doing very little work. Then I met Eddie King and we talked. I told him I was in a jazz band and we needed a guitar player that could play blues. He sead OK and joined our groop, and we started playing blues and RB and things took off. We called the band Eddie King and King Men, and we stayed together for 15 years. Then we split up for about 2 years and later we started the band up as Eddie King and Babee May and the Blues Machine and we stayed together until Eddie King moved out of town. I quit playing for 2 years becouse we were so close I did not want to play with anyone but Eddie. Then I met Jessie Grean when I was playing with Morris Pejo and he liked the way I played bass and one night Otis Rush need a bass player, so Jessie said come and work with him. The rest is history. I have been playing music for 39 years and I am still having fun.
KENNY “BEEDY EYES” SMITH
Kenny Smith is one of today’s top greatest blues drummers. he is an honored Grammy award-winning drummer, The son of the legendary Willie ‘Big Eyes’ Smith.
Dave Katzman has been working in the Chicago Blues scene for over 4 decades. He has traveled the world as an Engineer, Guitarist, Producer and Road Manager. Working with artists like Albert Collins, Buddy Guy, Albert King, Otis Rush and many others.
Melvin has been playing bass guitar for over 25 years in venues from small clubs to large international festivals. His career has had him performing in bands with such luminaries as Koko Taylor, Lurie Bell and Billy Branch. He has also performed with Carl Weathersby, Big James and the Chicago Playboys, Jimmy Johnson, Phil Guy, Lefty Dizz, Melvin Taylor, Charlie Love, Jimmy Burns and many others. Melvin is one of the most sought out bass men in the Chicago blues scene today.
Though he is not well known, even to many blues fans, Roosevelt “Hatter” Purifoy Jr. has performed for decades with a who’s who of artists: Buddy Guy, Marvin Gaye, Son Seals, Jimmy Johnson, Willie Clayton; and he appears on dozens and dozens of recordings, likely into the hundreds. He has been the go-to pianist for indy blues and jazz label Delmark Records for years. His talent for adapting his style to best support other artists has led to sessions with Lurrie Bell, Syl Johnson, Sugar Blue, Larry McCray, Eddie Burns, Mavis Staples, the Kinsey Report and many others.
A native of Chicago, Purifoy has worked full time as a musician since he was a young man. Mostly, he has been honored to make others sound their best. For much of his career, however, his opportunities were limited due to his refusal to board an airplane. He decided to fly a few years ago, and as a result, audiences across the country are discovering his talent. He is also stepping out front more often with his own keyboard-driven shows. Purifoy has now taken to the sky regularly as Lurrie Bell’s keyboardist, and he is finally working on a full-length recording of his own.
OSCAR WILSON (of Cash Box Kings)
The Cash Box Kings are bona fide blues royalty. Co-led by real-deal Chicago blues vocalist and songwriter Oscar Wilson and Madison, Wisconsin-based songwriter, harmonica giant and singer Joe Nosek, the band plays masterfully raw and unvarnished houserocking blues. Wilson’s huge, gritty vocals and Nosek’s powerhouse harmonica fuel their razor-sharp original songs. With their top shelf musicianship and trademark good humor, The Cash Box Kings are a one-of-a-kind blues band. In the words of MOJO magazine, the band is “flawless.”
The crystalline voice that carries through Amy Lowe’s music compels attention. This is true whether Amy is performing at a club, concert venue, or major festival, or providing an educational program for students, school assembly, library program, or a private party, or performing for senior citizens virtually, or at an independent living facility.
Amy is a singer-songwriter with more than 30 years of experience in the music business. She wears a number of musical hats that include multi-award-winning singer – songwriter, storyteller, and teaching artist. Amy’s songs inspire diverse audiences of all ages. Whether performing original compositions, Americana Blues, World Roots, Adult Contemporary, or Children’s music, her timeless style will remind listeners of songs from the Indigo Girls, Emmylou Harris, Etta James, and Lucinda Williams. She is a prolific songwriter with an extensive recording career and a vast catalog of original songs that fill the Music Libraries of Jewel-Eye-Music-BMI; Emphasis Entertainment; and Who’z the Boss. Her commitment to creating quality compositions for an assortment of clients include commissioned works for museums, theater groups, arts organizations, educational institutions, and individuals has brought her accolades along with many awards.