PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 22, 2010 | John MacElwee | Executive Director [email protected] | 360.385.3102 x111 2010 Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival Presented by Centrum Features David Bromberg, Down-Home Country BluesFest and more Port Townsend, WA Under the direction of Artistic Director Corey Harris, Centrum presents the 19 th Annual Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival August 4 – 7 which is highlighted by a performance from multi-instrument virtuoso David Bromberg with his quartet (Friday, August 6th, 7:30 PM) and the DownHome Country BluesFest (Saturday, August 7th, 1:30 PM) featuring a variety of acoustic blues styles. In addition to these performances at McCurdy Pavilion on the grounds of Fort Worden State Park, the festival again features more than 20 nationally-acclaimed acoustic blues artists in intimate club performances throughout the downtown and uptown districts of the Victorian seaport community. The festival also includes a free noon-time performance on Friday, August 6th on lawn of the Fort Worden Commons and a first-ever Blues children’s performance featuring Lightnin’ Wells one hour earlier at the Fort Worden Chapel. The Festival opens with an All-Star Blues Dance at Littlefield Green, adjacent to McCurdy Pavilion, on Wednesday, August 4th at 7:30 PM. Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival tickets are available through www.centrum.org or by calling 1-800-746-1982. David Bromberg Born in Philadelphia in 1945 and raised in Tarrytown, NY, Bromberg began studying guitar-playing when he was 13 and eventually enrolled in Columbia University as a musicology major. The call of the Greenwich Village folk scene in the mid-’60s drew David to the downtown clubs and coffeehouses, where he could watch and learn from the best performers, including primary sources such as his inspiration and teacher, the acoustic blues master Reverend Gary Davis. Bromberg’s sensitive and versatile approach to guitar-playing earned him jobs playing the Village “basket houses” for tips, the occasional paying gig, and lots of employment as a backing musician for Tom Paxton, Jerry Jeff Walker and Rosalie Sorrels, among others. He became a first-call, “hired gun” guitarist for recording sessions, ultimately playing on hundreds of records by artists including Bob Dylan (New Morning, Self Portrait, Dylan), Link Wray, The Eagles, Ringo Starr, Willie Nelson, and Carly Simon. In addition to guitar, Bromberg is accomplished on the violin, Dobro, and mandolin. An unexpected and wildly successful solo spot at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival in Great Britain led to a solo deal with Columbia Records, for whom David recorded four albums. His eponymous 1971 debut not CENTRUM present Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival page 2 only included the mock-anguished “Suffer to Sing the Blues,” a Bromberg original that became an FM radio staple, but also “The Holdup,” a songwriting collaboration with former Beatle George Harrison. In the 80s, Bromberg took a break from performing and studied violin making, and now has his own shop in Wilmington, Delaware where he resides. Returning to the concert circuit, he frequently performs in a duo-setting with former Jefferson Airplane guitarist Jorma Kaukonen where they cover a wide range of material, including Piedmont Blues. In addition Bromberg performs solo, with his quartet and with his big band, which enjoyed enormous popularity in the 70s. Bromberg released his first new recording since 1990 with Try Me One More Time in 2007 which was nominated for a Grammy Award. Opening the Friday evening show will be Piedmont master and Festival veteran Lightnin’ Wells, himself a mutli-instrumentalist on guitar, harmonica and ukulele as well as being an engaging singer. In addition to his own talents, Wells has helped to preserve the North Carolina Blues tradition by producing the first commercial recordings of Big Boy Henry, Algia Mae Hinton and George Higgs. He has traveled and performed extensively with these musicians and has documented their backgrounds and musical histories for future generations. Tickets for David Bromberg and Lightin’ Wells range from $20 to $39. Children (under 18) are free. Down-Home Country BluesFest Down Home Country BluesFest, a quadruple bill, features The Ebony Hillbillies, one of the country's last black string bands; guitarist / mandolinist Steve James bringing roots and blues from Texas; Nat Reese, a former coal miner and musical partner of the late Howard Armstrong in a performance with Artistic Director emeritus and harmonica player Phil Wiggins, and the guitar / piano prodigy Jerron Paxton with a host of Blues Festival friends. As one of the last black string bands in the U.S.—and the only one currently based in NYC—the Hillbillies keep an important legacy alive with a rootsy, homegrown style that was a key element in the genesis of all uniquely American music—jazz, blues, bluegrass, rockabilly, rock and roll and country. The band led by Henrique Prince (fiddle, vocals) and Norris Bennett (banjo, mountain dulcimer, guitar, vocals) also features William “Salty Bill” Salter on acoustic bass, Dave Gibson on percussion, and Gloria Gassaway on vocals. Salter was the co-writer of popular songs “Where is the Love?,” performed by Donny Hathaway and Roberta Flack and Grover Washington Jr.’s “Just the Two of Us.” In addition to performing occasionally on street corners or at subway stations, the Ebony Hillbillies have performed at Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space and, most recently, the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, North Carolina. A Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival veteran, James plays a National steel guitar, mandolin, and the banjo, having become fixated, as an adolescent, on the blues. As a teenager in New York City, James CENTRUM present Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival page 3 listened to his father's record collection, which included recordings from Lead Belly, Josh White, and Meade "Lux" Lewis. Following relocation to Tennessee, he met both Sam McGee and Furry Lewis. In 1977, he moved to San Antonio, Texas, and played along with various musicians including Bo Diddley, John P. Hammond and Dave Van Ronk. James' earliest recordings were Two Track Mind (1993), American Primitive (1994), and Art & Grit (1996). His most recent recording Greyghoste, was released on the Dream Guitar label. He continues to tour around the world and incorporates teaching sessions on guitar playing techniques. Nathaniel H. "Nat" Reese, who is making his PT Acoustic Blue Festival debut was born in 1924 in Salem, Virginia, moving to Itmann, Wyoming County, in 1928. He now lives in Princeton, Mercer County. Nat grew up in the coal camps, surrounded by gospel, swing, and blues music. A former coal miner himself, Nat later turned to music as a profession, plying his skill as a guitarist and singer in a wide array of musical styles. In 1939, Nat first met and performed with multi-instrumentalist Howard Armstrong, who was traveling through and playing the coal camp circuit from his home in Tennessee. The duo was to perform together with increasing regularity over the next sixty-five years until Armstrong’s death in 2003. Nat joins with former PT Acoustic Blues Artistic Director and harmonica virtuoso Phil Wiggins, known worldwide for Cephas & Wiggins, his duo with late John Cephas, which was considered the leading exponent of traditional Piedmont blues. The duo won several W.C. Handy Awards. Closing the Down-Home Country Blues-Fest, Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton joins with a host of festival friends to perform a wide range of blues styles. A native of the Watts area of Los Angeles, Paxton performs guitar, banjo and piano and has appeared with Dom Flemmons of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, National Heritage Award winner John Dee Holeman, and was recently featured at the Brooklyn Folk Festival. Paxton is known for his huge repertoire of prewar blues and rags. Tickets for the Down-Home Country Blues-Fest range from $18 to $33. Children (under 18) are free, Club Performances As is the tradition, faculty-artists from the Acoustic Blues workshop will be performing in seven clubs in Port Townsend on Friday and Saturday, August 6th and 7th from 9 PM to midnight including The Upstage, the Public House, Castle Key Lounge, the Uptown Pub, Undertown, the Boiler Room and Sirens. An evening club pass is $20. Performers include Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes, Terry “Harmonica” Bean, Daryl Davis, The Ebony Hillbillies Corey Harris, Hook Herrera with Russell Rodriguez, Gerry Hundt, Steve James, Rev. Robert B. Jones “Washboard Chaz” Leary, Jerron Paxton, Ben Payton, Nat Reese, Del Rey, George Rezendes, Jeffrey Scott, Suzy Thompson, Lightnin’ Wells, and Phil Wiggins. CENTRUM present Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival page 4 Concert for Kids For the second time this summer, Centrum will present a concert for young people, ages 3 and up, at the Fort Worden Chapel featuring Lightnin’ Wells who will perform selections from his 2008 CD “Jump Little Children: Old Songs for Young Folks” on Friday, August 6th at 11:00 AM. With the venue utilized so kids can scoot in close to the music, the concert is sure to feature hits from the album including the Freight Train Boogie and C-H-I-C-K-E-N spells chicken. Tickets are $5 for adults, kids (under 18) are free. Free Fridays at the Fort Based in Port Townsend, the popular Crow Quill Night Owls, acclaimed for their recent performance at Seattle’s Folk Life Festival, perform as part of Centrum’s Free Fridays at the Fort series on the lawn of the Fort Worden Commons on Friday, August 6 at noon. Patrons are encouraged to bring blankets or chairs to sit on. Food and beverages will be for sale in the Fort Worden Commons. Admission is free. All Star Blue Dance Continuing the popular tradition from last year, the Acoustic Blues Festival officially opens with an All Star Blues Dance outdoors on Littlefield Green on Wednesday, August 4th at 7:30 PM featuring artist faculty from the Acoustic Blues workshop. Patrons are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs, and beer and wine is available for purchase in Centrum’s Beer garden. Tickets for the Blues dance are $15. Children (under 18) are free. Sponsors Major support for Centrum’s 2010 Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival comes from Sage Arts. Additional support is provided by the Washington State Arts Commission and the Kirlin Charitable Foundation with promotional support from KPLU 88.5 FM. David Bromberg’s appearance is made possible by the Richard and Anne Schneider Director’s Creative Fund. CENTRUM present Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival page 5 Schedule PORT TOWNSEND ACOUSTIC BLUES FESTIVAL Wednesday, Aug 4 All-Star Blues Dance Littlefield Green | 7:30 pm Workshop Faculty All Stars Friday, Aug 6 Concert for Kids (ages 3 and up) Fort Worden Chapel | 11am Lightnin’ Wells Old Songs for Young Folks Free Fridays at the Fort Lawn next to Fort Worden Commons | 12 noon The Crow Quill Night Owls David Bromberg McCurdy Pavilion | 7:30pm David Bromberg Quartet Lightnin’ Wells Blues in the Clubs 9pm – 12 midnight The Boiler Room 711 Water Street (free admission) Jerron Paxton (9 pm) George Rezendes (10 pm) Ben Payton (11 pm) Castle Key 7th and Sheridan Annieville Blues (9 pm) Daryl Davis (10 pm) Jerron and Washboard Chas (11 pm) The Public House 1038 Water Street Terry Bean (9 pm) Terry Bean (10 pm) Nat Reese and Sunpie Barnes (11 pm) Sirens 823 Water Street Sunpie Barnes and Washborad Chas (9 pm) The Ebony Hillbillies (10 pm) The Ebony Hillbillies (11 pm) The Upstage 923 Washington Street Rev. Robert Jones and Phil Wiggins (9 pm) Jeffrey Scott (10 pm) Jeffrey Scott and Phil Wiggins (11 pm) CENTRUM present Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival page 6 Khu Larb Thai 225 Adams Street Hook Herrera and Russell Rodriguez (9 pm) Del Rey and Suzy Thompson (10 pm) Del Rey and Gerry Hundt (11 pm) Undertown 211 Taylor Street Steve James (9 pm) Lightnin' Wells (10 pm) Hook Herrera and Russell Rodriguez (11 pm) Saturday, Aug 7 Down-Home Country BluesFest McCurdy Pavilion | 1:30 pm The Ebony Hillbillies Steve James Nat Reese and Phil Wiggins The Jerron Paxton Band Blues in the Clubs 9pm – 12 midnight The Boiler Room 711 Water Street (free admission) Hook Herrera and Russell Rodriguez (9 pm) Steve James (10 pm) Jeffrey Scott (11 pm) Castle Key 7th and Sheridan Ben Payton (9 pm) Annieville Blues (10 pm) Daryl Davis (11 pm) The Public House 1038 Water Street George Rezendes (9 pm) Phil Wiggins and Lightnin' Wells (10 pm) Faculty Jam led by Corey Harris (11 pm) Sirens 823 Water Street Jerron Paxton (9 pm) Crow Quill Night Owls (10 pm) Rev. Robert Jones (11 pm) The Upstage 225 Adams Street Nat Reese (9 pm) Rev. Robert Jones (10 pm) The Ebony Hillbillies (11 pm) Khu Larb Thai 225 Adams Street Phil Wiggins (9 pm) Sunpie Barnes (10 pm) Terry Bean (11 pm) Undertown 211 Taylor Street Rev. Robert Jones (9 pm) Gerry Hundt (10 pm) Suzy Thompson and Lightnin' Wells (11 pm) CENTRUM present Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival page 7 Biographies Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes (New Orleans, LA) is a true renaissance man, having taken his accordion to more than 35 countries, playing a signature style of blues, zydeco, Afro-Caribbean and AfroLouisiana music. With his group, the Louisiana Sunspots, Sunpie has played festivals and concerts as far away as Rovaniemi, Finland, Brazil, South Africa, Spain, France and Martinique. He’s also a veteran park ranger with the U.S. National Park Service currently working at New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park and is second chief of the North Side Skull and Bone Gang, one of the oldest existing carnival groups in New Orleans, and a member of the Black Men of Labor Social Aid and Pleasure Club. Terry “Harmonica” Bean (Pontotoc, MS) A lifelong resident of Pontotoc, Miss., Terry first heard downhome blues in his childhood home. His father, Eddie Bean, a native of Bruce, Miss., sang and played blues guitar and, prior to Terry’s birth, traveled with an electric blues band. For many years, informal music and gambling gatherings were hosted at the family’s house on “Bean Hill” in west Pontotoc. Terry, one of 24 children, was enlisted to pick cotton in the surrounding fields. At the same time, the youngster took up guitar and harmonica, and eventually was featured at the family’s gatherings and before long, taken to play at other house parties, as well. After an injury curtailed his career in professional baseball, Terry returned to music. He played with veteran bluesmen, including “T-Model” Ford, and began performing on his own in the late 1980s as a one-man band, playing guitar and harmonica, and “foot stomping.” Terry frequently plays clubs and has performed at many blues festivals in the United States and Europe, most recently returning from a tour in Italy. Born in Los Angeles, Calif., in 1960, Annieville Blues began her training with traditional classical music but changed direction when she saw Little Richard on American Bandstand. Her attraction and inspiration to learn more about boogie woogie, jazz and blues piano styles were sparked by collecting old recordings of legendary pianists including Albert Ammons, Meade Lux Lewis, Jelly Roll Morton, Fats Waller, Otis Spann, and Fats Domino. Her first recording was in 1977 with Steve Miller of the Steve Miller Band. In 1982, she received her bachelor’s degree from Cornish School of Allied Arts in Seattle. During a 30-year music career, Annieville has shared the stage with renowned performers including Pinetop Perkins, Barrelhouse Chuck, Big Joe Duskin, Leon Blue, Henry Butler, Mr. B, Bob Seeley, Cash McCall and Cephas & Wiggins. Washboard Chaz Leary (New Orleans, LA) plays congas, hand percussion and drums, but in truth he is one of the world’s only professional washboard players. Though comfortable in all forms of our diverse American musical heritage, Washboard Chaz Leary has achieved dominance and international recognition in acoustic country blues. He has played professionally with an impressive array of worldclass musicians, both on the stage and in the recording studio.His reputation as a consummate musician and performer, along with a delightful stage presence, has brought him countless excellent reviews and wide popularity. Chaz calls New Orleans home, where he plays with the Washboard Chaz Blues Trio, Tin Men, the New Orleans Nightcrawlers, the Iguanas, and a host of other musicians from the region. Daryl Davis (Washington, DC) was born in Maryland, and earned his Bachelor of Music degree from Howard University, where he was a member of the Howard University Choir and Jazz Vocal Ensemble. In addition to being a vocalist, guitarist, composer, and keyboardist, Daryl is a professional actor and author. In 1985, 72 year-old Pinetop Perkins, one of the founding fathers of boogie woogie and considered to be one of the greatest blues and boogie pianists, selected 27-year-old Daryl Davis to succeed him in the piano and vocal slot of the Muddy Waters Legendary Blues Band. Johnnie Johnson, Chuck Berry’s original pianist, has praised Daryl’s ability to master with authenticity, a style that was popular 30 years before he was born. As a performer, Daryl Davis has worked with countless greats such as Elvis Presley’s Jordanaires, The Coasters, Muddy Waters Legendary Blues Band, and Bo Diddley. He has served as Chuck Berry’s musical director and is a long-standing regular player, in Chuck Berry’s current band. He was the featured pianist on Cephas & Wiggins’ 1992 Grammy Award-winning album, “Flip Flop and Fly.” CENTRUM present Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival page 8 Corey Harris (Charlottesville, VA), in his second year as the artistic director of The Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival, has been credited along with Keb’ Mo’ and Alvin Youngblood Hart for raising the musical flag of acoustic guitar blues revival beginning in the mid-1990s. Born in Denver,Colo., Harris graduated from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine in 1991, and in his early 20s received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for language studies in Cameroon, before taking a teaching post with Teach for America in Napoleonville, Louisiana. On his debut album “Between Midnight and Day” released in 1995, he investigated the repertoire of Charlie Patton, Booker White, Fred McDowell, Muddy Waters and Sleepy John Estes; then in 2002, collaborated with Ali Farka Toure on his album, “Mississippi to Mali” fusing blues and Toure’s music from northern Mali. In 2003, Harris was featured in Martin Scorcese’s episode of the PBS series “The Blues,” the same year he contributed to the Northern Blues release, “Johnny’s Blues: A Tribute to Johnny Cash.” Harris has lived and traveled widely in West Africa, throughout Europe, Canada, Japan and Australia. In 2007, Harris was named a MacArthur Fellow. The Ebony Hillbillies (New York, NY) include Henrique Prince (fiddle), Norris Bennett (banjo), David Gibson (washboard and percussion), and William Salter (bass). They provide a great introduction to a largely forgotten African American cultural legacy. Like many New York performers, the Hillbillies can be found doing their thing for tips in subway stations. Prince, the lead Billie, hails from a family of musicians from St. Thomas, growing up around all kinds of music, from instrumental dance to traditional Caribbean, Hawaiian and country styles. In his preteens, he taught himself to shuffle on the violin, his favorite instrument. His thoughts on the African roots of old-time music: “Africans, particularly West Africans, have had string bands for centuries—the ekonting, is the banjo’s ancestor. The ekonting players were said to have been captured and made to perform on the decks of slave ships to allow the (enslaved Africans) to get enough exercise to survive the Middle Passage. Left off in America, those players became the first black fiddlers and made the earliest gourd banjos. Somewhere in the mountains of Appalachia, knowledge of the banjo got transferred to other groups.” Hook Herrera (San Jose, CA) brings a pancultural appreciation of the blues to Port Townsend. A gifted harmonica and guitar player, Hook’s family roots span Italy, Mexico and pre-colonized America. In an attempt to illustrate the Mexican-American influence on blues music, Hook will be appearing at the festival with Russell Rodríguez, an accomplished musician and dancer specializing in performance styles of huasteca, jarocho, mariachi, and other traditional music forms of Mexico. He has performed at various folk festivals throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico, instructed at Mariachi Festivals throughout the U.S. Southwest, and worked in San José and Los Angeles, Calif., Austin, Texas, Washington, DC, Mexico City and Guadalajara, Mexico, and San Juan, Puerto Rico as a professional musician performing in all types of venues. Herrera has also shared the stage with Junior Wells, Hollywood Fats, as well as the Allman Brothers and Gov’t Mule. Gerry Hundt (Chesterton, IN) played Chicago Blues in taverns before he was allowed to drink in them. Born in Wisconsin and raised in Illinois he has since lived in Vermont, New York City, Colorado, and Chicago. In Denver, he worked, toured, and recorded with the likes of John-Alex Mason, Ronnie Shellist, and The Clam Daddys. For the last five years Hundt has toured the United States and Europe relentlessly as a member of Chicago’s Nick Moss & The Flip-Tops, filling the role of “utility man,” playing bass, guitar, harmonica, and, of course, mandolin. On the strength of his critically acclaimed Blue Bella Records CD,“Since Way Back,” Gerry was nominated for Blues Music Awards in 2008, 2009, & 2010 for Best Instrumentalist. Hundt now resides in northwest Indiana, where SteadyGroove – the One Man, Chicago Blues Band – consistently draws fans new and old to deep Chicago Blues. Steve James (Austin, TX) Guitar goniff, mandolin maven and roots/ blues road veteran Steve James returns to the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues festival for the 15th time. Besides his many international tour dates and critically hailed recordings, Steve is known to fans of “the real” from his appearances on NPR Morning Edition, A Prairie Home Companion and many other syndicated broadcasts. Born in New York City to a musical family, James was bitten by the bluesbug early on, and after seeing Muddy Waters and Mississippi John Hurt, he decided to make music his life. In the early 1970s he migrated to Bristol, Tenn. (“bothering old people and playing with fiddlers,”) then on to Memphis (where he played with Lewis, Bukka White, and Lum Guffin,) and finally Texas in 1977. During this time, James became acquainted with the classic music and many of the great musicians of the American South. As a touring musician and recording artist, Steve is a font of historical knowledge, an engaging performer and a talented teacher. CENTRUM present Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival page 9 Rev. Robert B. Jones (Detroit, MI) has more than20 years of experience as a performer, musician, storyteller, radio producer/host and music educator. He has opened for and played with some of the finest musicians in the world, including BB King, Bonnie Raitt, Pinetop Perkins, Willie Dixon, John Hammond, Keb’ Mo’, Howard Armstrong, and many more. Still, Robert considers his greatest honor to be his call to the gospel of ministry. Born in Detroit, of a father from West Pointe, Miss. and a mother from Conecuh County, Ala., Robert grew up in a very Southern household. By age 17, Jones had already amassed a record collection of early blues and begun to teach himself guitar and harmonica. Among his accomplishments is the development of an educational program called Blues For Schools, which has taken him into classrooms all over the country. Ben Payton (Jackson, MS) has a voice that resonates with a passion for life and accompanying guitar skills that evoke the tradition of the original Delta blues greats such as Robert Johnson, Tommy Johnson, Charley Patton, and Son House. Born in Coila, Miss., in the hill country just east of the Delta, Payton’s early musical influences included his grandmother Mabel Johnson’s gospel piano playing and his Uncle Joe Birch’s blues guitar. When in his mid-teens, Payton and his family moved to Chicago, where he soon became active in the city’s blues scene. Payton worked regularly with Bobby Rush and Joe Evans and the Supersonics, who backed many prominent artists as the house band at clubs including Peyton Place, the Green Bunny, and High Chaparral. He also played in R&B bands, and has worked with artists Eddie Shaw and the Wolf Gang, Junior Wells, Fenton Robinson, Little Mack Simmons, Barkin’ Bill Smith, Taildragger, Bobby King, Big Moose Walker, and Muddy Waters Jr. This is his first trip to Port Townsend. Jerron Paxton (Los Angeles, CA) plays guitar, banjo, piano, harmonica, and washboard. While there are few young African American musicians learning country blues in the communities from which it arose, there is a definite increase in younger black musicians learning and playing blues in much the same way that young white people did forty years ago – by listening to recordings and personally experimenting on their instrument. Jerron Paxton is a supreme example of this – a young man from Watts with a huge repertoire of prewar blues and rags, and an uncanny ability to channel the spirit of pre-war guitar and piano blues music. Nathaniel Hawthorne “Nat” Reese (Princeton, WV) was born in 1924 in Salem, Va., to Thomas Walker Reese and Rosa Sylvester Caroline Wilson Reese both of whom were originally from Alabama. The family, moved to Itman, Wyoming County, W. Va. in 1928 where plenty of money was to be made in the coalfields, a visiting preacher advised. Thomas took a job at the Virginia Railroad shop. Both parents were musical, and Mr. Reese recalls learning “Life Is Like a Mountain Railroad” at his mother’s knee. When he began to show musical talent on his father’s guitar, his father made time payments to buy him a Martin Tiple, a 12-string instrument of Argentine origin popular at the time. Surrounded by gospel, swing, and blues music, it was 1939, when he first met and performed with multi-instrumentalist Howard Armstrong, who was traveling through and playing the coal camp circuit from his home in Tennessee. The duo was to perform together with increasing regularity over the next 65 years until Armstrong’s death in 2003. Del Rey (Seattle, WA) is a Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival favorite, who quite simply is one of the finest players of the guitar and ukulele active today. Her bass lines are sublime; the melodies she puts against them leave musicians asking the question, “How did she do that?” Del Rey started playing classical guitar when she was 4 and as a teenager, met bluesman Sam Chatmon who inspired her to become a blues queen. Her guitar playing combines country blues, stride piano, classic jazz and hillbilly boogie through the sensibility of an autodidact trailerpark esthete. Her live show is full of complex grooves and sly humor. Del Rey plays concerts worldwide and also presents a concert/lecture on women musicians called Women in American Music. She collaborates and tours frequently with Austin guitarist Steve James and she plays ukulele with Ukeshack. She is featured on Maria Muldaur’s “Sweet Lovin’ Old Soul.” George Rezendes (Port Townsend, WA) has been playing country blues, ragtime, folk and roots rock guitar since 1970. At age 14, a friend brought him recordings of John Hurt, Blind Blake, and Leadbelly, and Rezendes discovered the music that would be his foundation as a musician for the rest of his life. Interested in many styles of music, he filters everything he plays through the rhythms and syncopations CENTRUM present Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival page 10 that he learned from these masters. The former owner of the local music store, Crossroads Music, Rezendes has been a long-time champion of the local music scene, most recently, laying down tracks at his “tool shed” recording studio when he’s not performing. Rezendes is known as a world-class fingerstyle guitarist and has a long career in the music industry having worked previously at Guild guitars. He is also a master guitar builder and luthier. Jeffrey Scott (Virginia) is a Piedmont blues musician and a farmer from Culpeper County, Va., and nephew of the late, legendary blues artist John Jackson. He has been a featured performer at many events and festivals, including the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the Kennedy Center, Blue Ridge Folklife Festival and the DC Blues Society Festival. Accompanying his vocals with Piedmont style guitar and oldtime banjo playing, Scott draws on the musical sources and community heritage of the Blue Ridge Mountains region, as well as many of the songs, stories, and sayings of his famous uncle. The music he plays ranges from blues to gospel to country dance tunes. Mr. Scott makes his first visit to the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival this year. Suzy Thompson (Berkeley, CA) is one of the rare musicians today who has mastered the blues violin, following in the footsteps of Lonnie Chatmon, Clifford Hayes and Eddie Anthony. A powerful blues singer in the styles of Memphis Minnie and Bessie Smith, she is also unique in her ability to fiddle and sing at the same time. In 2003, after 30 years as a working musician, Suzy Thompson released her first solo CD, “No Mockingbird” which features blues songs and old-time fiddle rags backed on the album by Maria Muldaur, Fritz Richmond, Geoff Muldaur, and Mike Seeger. Her following CD, “Stop & Listen”, released by Arhoolie Records in 2005, is a live concert recording with Del Rey, longtime musical partner and renowned flatpicker Eric Thompson, and the Thompson String Ticklers. Thompson has been a leading force in many influential roots music groups, including the California Cajun, the Blue Flame String Band (with Kate Brislin and Alan Senauke), Klezmorim (who started the klezmer music revival in the 1970s), the all-woman Any Old Time String Band (featured on the Grammy-winning Arhoolie box set), and most recently, the Bluegrass Intentions (with banjo ace Bill Evans). Suzy has just been appointed Artistic Director of Centrum’s Festival of American Fiddle Tunes. Lightnin’ Wells (Fountain, NC) as a guitar, harmonica, ukulele, mandolin and banjo player, breathes new life into the vintage tunes of the 1920s. He learned to play harmonica as a young child and then taught himself to play the guitar while developing a strong interest in traditional music. By the early 1970s he was performing his own brand of acoustic blues. He produced the first commercial recordings of the North Carolina blues veterans Big Boy Henry, Algia Mae Hinton and George Higgs as he traveled and performed extensively with them, documenting their backgrounds and musical histories for future generations. A life-long student and devotee of the pioneering performers in the Piedmont blues tradition which once thrived in the Carolinas, Lightnin’ paid particular attention to such artists as Blind Boy Fuller, the Rev. Gary Davis and Elizabeth Cotton – deceased musicians whose influence seems only to grow with time. A veteran recording artist, in 2008 Lightnin’ released “Jump Little Children: Old Songs for Young Folks” designed with the younger listener in mind. Phil Wiggins (Takoma Park, MD), born in 1954, was attracted to the blues harp as a young man and began his musical career with some of Washington D.C.’s leading blues artists, including Archie Edwards and John Jackson. He attributes his style to his years spent accompanying slide guitarist and gospel singer Flora Molton, and an apprenticeship with Mother Scott (a contemporary of Bessie Smith). Phil’s harmonica sound developed from listening to piano and horn players, as well as to the music of Sonny Terry, Sonny Boy Williamson I, Little Walter, Big Walter Horton and Junior Wells. He met John Cephas in 1976 and a year later the duo Cephas & Wiggins was born. As a duo, Cephas & Wiggins were recognized as the leading exponents of traditional Piedmont blues. They recorded their first domestic album in 1987, “Dog Days of August,” and it quickly won a W.C. Handy Award (the Grammy of the blues community) for “Best Traditional Blues Album Of The Year.” They also took home the Handy Award for “Blues Entertainers of the Year.” Often called the Ambassadors of The Blues, Cephas & Wiggins played together for 34 years bringing Piedmont blues to audiences all over the world. Wiggins served as Centrum’s first Artistic Director for the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival. CENTRUM present Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival page 11 Centrum, in partnership with Fort Worden State Park, is a gathering place for artists and creative thinkers, from all cultures and in all phases of their development; for students of all ages and backgrounds; and for audiences seeking extraordinary cultural enrichment. Centrum promotes creative experiences that change lives. Fort Worden State Park Perched on the northeast tip of the Olympic Peninsula, and located in the Victorian seaport and arts community of Port Townsend, Fort Worden State Park—a turn-of-the-century army base—offers an unmatched combination of natural beauty and historic interest. Acres of saltwater beaches, wooded hills, and open fields are framed by stunning vistas of the Olympic and Cascade ranges, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the fir-shrouded islands that extend northwards into Canada. Renovated Fort buildings— including classrooms, cabins, dormitories, and performance and studio spaces—serve as a place to relax, take new risks, recharge, and then return to the world renewed, perhaps even transformed, by the experience of this community and retreat destination. Port Townsend, located two hours northwest of Seattle (including a 35-minute ferry ride), has long been home to writers, musicians, artists, and artisans. The historic downtown features a broad array of unique shops; uptown contains some of the best-preserved Victorian mansions in the country, many of which serve as bed & breakfasts. The combined energy of the arts, marine trades, and history make Port Townsend an inviting getaway.