Kris Lager has become an underground cult hero of sorts. An uncompromising musician and charismatic performer who has cultivated a grassroots following and a career spanning over two decades. He has developed a unique ‘Celebrate Life’ message and mantra that emanates with every performance. A message that creates a congregation of dancing, singing, and clapping people with smiles on their faces everywhere he goes.
He has fused together his passion for blues, soul, funk, zydeco, country, and almost every other ‘American Roots Music’ into a contemporary and refreshing musical gumbo full of soul and spiritually uplifting rhythms and melodies.
Many people are calling him one of the finest songwriters, performers, and guitarists of his generation and for good reason too. Kris Lager’s gravelly voice and stirring lyrics combine the realness and authenticity of the blues with a keen sense of the human condition.
Groundbreaking young blues visionary Selwyn Birchwood released his highly anticipated third Alligator album, Living In A Burning House, on Friday, January 29, 2021. The rising guitar and lap steel player calls his original music “electric swamp funkin’ blues,” defined by raw and soulful musicianship played with fire-and-brimstone fervor. His gritty, unvarnished vocals draw his audience deep inside his unforgettable tales of love, passion, pain and pleasure. No other band on the current blues scene is built quite like Birchwood’s. In addition to Selwyn’s electrifying guitar and lap steel playing, the other featured instrument is Regi Oliver’s driving baritone sax. The group is rounded out by bass, drums and, for the first time, keyboards.
Birchwood’s voice and vision are clear, his sound is edgy and compelling, and his stories are memorable and lasting.
Since 2003, singer/songwriter Matt Cox (Omaha, Nebraska) has been recording and performing across the United States as a solo artist, and with an ever-changing lineup of the area’s top talent. The Shenandoah, Iowa, native (childhood home of the Everly Brothers) blends traditions of country, rock, folk, blues, Tex-Mex, gospel and soul, with his signature road-worn vocals, guitar & harmonica. A seven-time Omaha Entertainment and Arts Award winner (Best Blues 2008, Best Country/Americana 2009-2014, and Album Of The Year 2018).
The all-star band delivers a stellar slice of Americana, bringing to mind traces of The Band, the Sir Douglas Quintet, a bit of Bob Dylan, BeauSoleil and the honky-tonk side of Merle Haggard.
Moving to Chicago in 1963, John Primer was taught by the founding fathers of the blues! Starting out with his own band the Maintainers with Pat Rushing on Maxwell Street, he then moved on to play with the legendary Sammy Lawhorn and Junior Wells at Theresa’s Lounge. He worked hard and impressed Willie Dixon enough to go on tour with him and his Chicago Blues All-Stars Band. At this point he was known, and John’s dream finally came true in 1981 when he got to play with his idol, Muddy Waters! Muddy called for him to lead his band and changed his life forever. After Muddy’s untimely death, he joined up with Magic Slim & The Teardrops for the next 14 years, traveling all over the world.
John paid his dues and in 1995 he began leading his own band, The Real Deal Blues Band. He has recorded more than 87 albums with 17 albums in his own name. He has written and produced more than 55 songs on more than 6 record labels including his own, Blues House Productions. Earning 2 Grammy Award nominations, given 2 Lifetime Achievement Awards, inducted into the Chicago Blues Hall of Fame, awarded the “Muddy Award” for being a traditional blues icon, winning a Blues Music Award, Blues Blast Awards and countless other awards, John Primer is a legendary Chicago Blues Icon!
“Minneapolis-based singer-songwriter Joyann Parker is sheer joy. Not in a sweet and sentimental way, but with a saucy and sexy growl. And with an intelligent and intriguing style, as well…a lot of heart and a lot of character to go along with the humor and occasional moments of introspection.”
With roots in the church and a solid foundation of musical education, Joyann Parker found her authentic voice later in life and created her own blend of roots music that combines soul, R&B, gospel, jazz and traditional blues styles. Parker has been a steadily rising star on the Midwest music scene and now brings her full range of talent as an accomplished singer, pianist, guitarist and songwriter to national and international stages. Joyann’s rootsy, genre-blending sequel, “Out of the Dark,” was released on February 12, 2021, and debuted at #11 on the Billboard Blues Chart and #1 on the NACC Radio chart. Joyann’s new album, “Roots” is planned for a June 3, 2023 release.
Brooklyn’s Kaleta & Super Yamba Band are fronted by Afrobeat and Juju veteran Leon Ligan-Majek a.k.a. Kaleta. The singer/guitarist from the West African country of Benin Republic lived his adolescent life in Lagos, Nigeria where Afrobeat was born. Kaleta’s guitar chops earned him decades of touring and recording with Fela Kuti, King Sunny Ade, Lauryn Hill and more.
Kaleta and his band have also erupted onto the stages and video screens of major music festivals and music publications across the US. They performed at the historic Apollo Theatre in 2019. They even prompted Action Bronson to stop his own show on VICELAND TV just so he could hear more Yamba. They also performed on Adult Swim’s Fishcenter Live show in 2019. In 2017 they rocked Paste Magazine’s Emerging Music Festival in NYC and after that performance Afropop Worldwide fell in love with Kaleta, saying “his James Brown grunts have got to be some of the best in the business!”
Songs From The Road Band is an Asheville, North Carolina based bluegrass supergroup featuring Mark Schimick (mandolin), Charles Humphrey III (bass), Sam Wharton (guitar), James Schlender (fiddle), and Gabe Epstein (banjo). The band takes flight with virtuosic picking, singing, and Grammy award winning songwriting. Several of their most recent singles have gone to the top of the Bluegrass Today Grassicana chart. They have 6 studio albums available at all musical outlets.
“The Western North Carolina quintet is this band of melodic pirates, roaring down the highways and backroads of Southern Appalachia in search of a stage to play, perhaps another kindred spirit to collaborate with in the sacred art of songwriting and creating something (beautiful and permanent) from nothing (thin air and momentary inspiration).” – GARRET K. WOODWARD, Smoky Mountain News
“SFTRB are unique somehow, and it’s a challenge to define exactly how. The best way I can describe it is that they’re sort of a bluegrass chamber orchestra. They’re a quintet of first chairs. Know what I mean? They’re each better than anyone else on their instruments, so they don’t turn in and compete with each other. They’re incredibly collaborative, seamlessly so, and it comes across. They don’t waste energy trying to outdo each other, the way most bands do.”
Chicago bluesman Toronzo Cannon defies all expectations. The blistering guitarist, soulful vocalist, singular songwriter and city bus driver fuses his muscular, rock-inspired blues guitar playing with his original, keenly detailed slice-of-life songs, blazing his own blues trail. With the 2016 release of his Alligator Records debut, The Chicago Way, Cannon burst onto the international stage as one the most electrifying bluesmen to emerge from Chicago in decades. His live performances unfailingly earn him heaps of critical praise and hordes of wildly enthusiastic fans. Cannon has played major cities all over the U.S., Canada, and Europe. He recently performed for the first time in Japan, delighting and surprising audiences with one unforgettable gig after another. Now, with the release of The Preacher, The Politician Or The Pimp, Cannon builds upon the foundation he’s laid, creating and defining his vision of contemporary blues.
GhostCat is an Alternative/Indie band out of Iowa and composed of Cody Garwood-Bass, Josh Garwood-Keys, Alex Erwin-Guitar, Lead Vocals, Josh Lee- Guitar, Steve Skog-Drums. Formed in 2014, GhostCat burst into the local and regional music scene after releasing their debut EP “Useless Fairytales.” The Sioux City Indie Alternative rock band has since put out two full length records, performed a large number of concerts and festivals around the Midwest, continuing to grow their dedicated fan base. Comprised of five creators with largely different musical backgrounds, GhostCat pushes forward with a household sound we haven’t heard from quite anywhere else. Currently in and out of the studio, the band is poised for the biggest year of their musical careers to date.
Good Morning Bedlam has become an innovative force in the Midwest folk scene. Their shows are known for their contagious energy, with members careening about the stage. With tight soaring three part harmonies, and thumping kick-drum, they captivate their audience night after night. Every song is a unique twist on what is generally dubbed as folk music. “We want to surprise our audience from song to song. Rather than creating our music to fit a genre, we allow it to be an outpouring of our own stories and unique sound,” says Isaak, frontman of GMB. You will be treated to a haunting waltz, whistling, jazz scatting, and the euphoria of the violin melodies. When it comes to their lyrical storytelling, Isaak says, “We’re desperate to connect to people through the common human experiences that we write about and the exuberance of our live show. People have a lot of choices of how they’ll kick-back, so we intend to deliver a show where they can be free–to share in whatever they need to–joy, grief, anger, gratefulness, or bedlam!”
End your week with the best line-up of music from downtown Sioux City’s premiere summer concert series, Downtown Live*. Now back on the best day of the week “Friday.”
Bring your lawn chairs because the weekend starts here. So get there quick…you don’t want to miss a beat.
*Formerly Fridays on the Promenade, which moved to Thursdays in front of the Sioux City Public Museum**. It’s still at the Sioux City Public Museum but now on Fridays. Sorry for the confusion, we promise not to change it again…unless we have to because of unforeseen circumstances but know deep down that we aren’t doing this because we want too, its just that things happen…but we digress. Just come and enjoy yourself. We promise you’ll have a good time.
**The name “Thursdays in Front of the Museum” just didn’t have the same emotional pull as “Fridays on the Promenade” so we just came up with something that sounded as fun and as exciting as “Fridays on the Promenade”. Honestly we’re glad we didn’t call it “Thursdays in Front of the Museum” now that we changed the day back to Friday. If you have a better name please feel free to call and let us know.