Tuesday, Aug 23, 2016
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Music-Theater-Dance

Free downtown festival features blues greats

Highway 61, the southern road that's famous for its blues history, takes a detour to Toledo tomorrow when a caravan of veteran blues greats comes to town.

The free Toledo Blues Festival, which runs from 2 until about 10 p.m. in Promenade Park, features a lineup that includes A.C. Reed, the 76-year-old saxophonist from Wardell, Mo.; 80-year-old Detroit singer Alberta Adams; Delta-born guitarist Eddie “The Chief” Clearwater; 67-year-old Odessa Harris from West Helena, Ark., and 65-year-old Johnny Drummer, a Chicago singer and keyboard player originally from Alligator, Miss.

Also performing will be surf-rock instrumentalists Los Straitjackets - known for their colorful Mexican wrestling masks - and Toledo's Big Blues Bob and the Thin Ice Band

“I think it's a great lineup because it's back to the blues roots,” said John Rockwood, a local blues artist and president of Blue Suit Records. “We're featuring some real legends.”

Big Blues Bob Michaels played drums with the Griswolds for 18 years before switching to guitar and leading his own band.

Reed, who played big band jazz and studied at the Chicago Conservatory of Music, has played sax with such famed artists as the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, and Albert Collins.

Rockwood said Johnny Drummer offers a taste of “the real South Side Chicago blues,” and Adams and Harris, who will perform together, “represent the female side of the blues, which often gets overlooked.”

The Toledo Blues Festival lineup:

2 p.m.: Big Blues Bob and the Thin Ice Band

3:30: Odessa Harris and Alberta Adams

5: Johnny Drummer and the Starlighters

6:30: A.C. Reed and the Spark Plugs

8: Los Straitjackets and Eddie “The Chief” Clearwater

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