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Published: Monday, 2/18/2013

Library’s Big Gig! blues concert returns

BY CARL RYAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
The Lionel Young Band is the headliner for the signature event of the annual blues festival. The Lionel Young Band is the headliner for the signature event of the annual blues festival.
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MONROE — The Big Gig! blues concert, part of the Monroe County Library System’s annual musical recognition of Black History Month, features a lineup of veteran performers and rising stars and will be held Saturday at Monroe County Community College’s Meyer Theater, 1555 S. Raisinville Rd.

It is to start at 7 p.m. and last about three hours, said Bill Reiser, the Ellis Library manager and organizer of the blues series, held every February by the library system. He said he expected a large crowd once again at the free Big Gig!

No tickets are required. Seating is general admission, first come first served.

“It was standing room only last year, which was our 25th anniversary,” he said. “The Big Gig! is an extremely popular event, but we usually don’t have to turn anybody away.”

The Lionel Young Band from Colorado is the headliner and will be followed by Ypsilanti, Mich., roots rocker John Latini and the Flying Latini Brothers with the Lovers and the Liars.

Lionel Young has won the solo International Blues Challenge title as well as the group title of the same name with his band. The ensemble has won rave reviews for its concerts across the United States and Canada in recent years. The band will be making its Monroe debut, Mr. Reiser said.

John Latini, Mr. Reiser said, “is a singer-songwriter blues guy. He’s a very talented songwriter and a talented and charismatic performer. He’s going to be showing off his new songs with a bigger band. To me, it’s kind of reminiscent of Lyle Lovett or Van Morrison.”

Other Big Gig! performances are slated by the Virginia-based singer-songwriter Gaye Adegbalola and Detroiter the Rev. Robert B. Jones, who kicked off the Black History Month Blues Series in 1988 with a storied solo acoustic concert.

The library system is assisted with funding from community sponsors and state arts grants.

The blues series also features Tuesday concerts at 7 p.m.

Tuesday, the performer is Florida-based guitarist Damon Fowler at the Dorsch Memorial Branch. On Feb. 26, Cincinnati blues and boogie-woogie pianist Ricky Nye will play in the Bedford Branch.

The Monroe County concert series is Michigan’s longest-running annual blues celebration.



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