Blues cruisin' into Uptown
17th Greenwood Blues Cruise has diverse lineup planned
Sunday, March 26, 2017
By: Conor Hughes
For anyone looking for genuine blues music, the 17th annual Blues Cruise is the place to be from July 5-9.
The music festival in Uptown Greenwood -- which is the companion piece to the highly anticipated 17th annual Festival of Discovery -- will feature old-school blues pickers and young new acts.
“We’ve got a lot of returning favorites, but a lot of new faces,” said Gary Erwin, the event’s organizer. Erwin has long been a staple of the Blues Cruise, not only as its sole organizer, but also as a regular performer under the name Shrimp City Slim.
Blues performances making use of instruments such didgeridoos and ouds will also be on tap at the festival, which is sponsored by the Index-Journal. CenturyLink is once again sponsoring the Main Tent Stage.
“One of the thing we do every year with this festival -- and we take great pride in this -- is we really sail into uncharted artists,” Erwin said. “We present a lot of artists who don’t appear on other festivals. The programming is truly eclectic, we’re all over the map.”
While the times, dates and locations are subject to change this far in advance of the long weekend of barbecue and blues, the lineup consists of the following:
Luckyman Beall is a one-man, honky-tonk band with original songs from South Carolina who’s returning to the Blues Cruise. Beall will be playing at 8-11 p.m. July 6 at the Inn on the Square.
Blues Deluxe is a Columbia-based blues band that plays all across South Carolina. Blues Deluxe will be playing 9 p.m.-noon July 7 and 8 at Polo’s restaurant.
A musician from Pennsylvania returning to the Blue Cruise, Skyla Burrell delivers a dynamic and unique stage performance. Burrell will be playing 8:30-10 p.m. July 8 at the CenturyLink Tent Stage and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. July 9 at the Inn on the Square ballroom.
Ceasar is a returning musician to the Blues Cruise from Louisiana, who offers a combination of the Creole soul of Louisiana and shag music from South Carolina to deliver a rich blues performance. Ceasar will be performing 8-11 p.m. July 6 at the Sundance Gallery.
A powerful saxophonist and vocalist who has garnered international attention, Vanessa Collier is a returning act. Collier will be playing 7-8:30 p.m. July 6 at the CenturyLink Tent Stage.
John Clam Chop Etheridge, a seasoned blues musician from Alabama who specializes in performing covers of hidden gems, is returning to Blues Cruise. Shrimp often pairs Etheridge with other artists who need a percussionist, and he frequently joins Shrimp on stage.
Joey Gilmore is an award-winning blues veteran from Florida who’s performed around the world. Gilmore is performing 7-8:15 p.m. July 7 at the CenturyLink Tent Stage and 8-11 p.m. July 8 at the Inn on the Square ballroom.
A young, energetic blues group from Virginia, Patrick Green and the Blues Buckets provides an eclectic blues performance. The band will be performing 9 p.m.-midnight. July 7 at Buffalo Grill and 11-11:45 a.m. July 8 on the CenturyLink Tent Stage.
Katy Guillen & the Girls hard-hitting rock group heavily rooted in the blues. The group will perform 8-11 p.m. July 6 at Howard’s on Main, 4-5:15 p.m. and 8:45-10 p.m. July 7 at the CenturyLink Tent Stage.
A funky blues group hailing from Australia, Harper & Midwest Kind incorporates the didgeridoo into its songs for a distinctive sound. The band will be performing 9 p.m.-12 a.m. July 7 at T.W. Boons and 7-8:15 p.m. July 8 at the Century Link Tent Stage.
At 87 years old, John Dee Holeman -- winner of the National Folk Heritage Award -- delivers a soulful and engaging blues performance. Holeman will be playing 2:30-4 p.m. July 7 at the CenturyLink Tent Stage, 6-7 p.m. July 7 at the Arts Center and 3-4 p.m. July 8 at the CenturyLink Tent Stage.
Earl Howell is a drummer and singer with deep roots in Chicago blues. Howell will be playing 8-11 p.m. July 6 at Montague’s, 5:30-6:45 p.m. July 7 at the CenturyLink Tent Stage, 8-11 p.m. July 7 at the Inn on the Square ballroom and 9 p.m.-midnight July 8 at The Mill House.
In Layman Terms is a family act from Virginia that delivers a powerful performance. The band is playing 7-8 p.m. July 7 at the Arts Center, 4-5 p.m. July 8 at the CenturyLink Tent Stage and 9 p.m.-midnight at Howard’s on Main.
Peter Kfoury is a Lebanese-American artist who plays the blues with an oud, a 10-stringed Middle Eastern instrument. Kfoury will be playing 6:30-7 p.m. July 8 at the CenturyLink Tent Stage and 8-11 p.m. at Montague’s Restaurant.
The Wesley Pruitt Band is a young group from Texas that plays a diverse and energetic set. The band is performing 8-11 p.m. July 6 at T.W. Boons and 9 p.m.-midnight July 7 at The Mill House.
Roots & Dore is a guitar and harmonica duo from North Carolina that provides a riveting acoustic performance with a surprising kick. The band will play 8-11 p.m. July 7 at Montague’s and 11 a.m.-3 p.m July 8 at Buffalo Grill.
A honed slide guitarist from Florida, the Sauce Boss prepares gumbo for his audience while performing onstage. The Sauce Boss will be performing 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. July 5 at the Greenwood Soup Kitchen, 6-7 p.m. July 6 at the CenturyLink Stage Tent and 9 p.m.-midnight July 7 at Howard’s on Main.
Shrimp City Slim is a Charleston-based pianist and singer who has performed all over the world and has a background in Chicago blues. He is performing 11-11:45 a.m. July 7 at the CenturyLink Tent Stage, 9 p.m.-midnight July 7 and 8 at Polo’s Restaurant. He has been an organizer of the Blues Cruise since its first year.
Sidewalk Zydeco is a fast paced zydeco act from Charleston with high energy accordion playing. The band is playing 1:15-2:45 p.m. July 8 at the CenturyLink Tent Stage and 9 p.m.-midnight July 8.
Little Oscar Stricklin is a veteran Chicago blues musician -- who made his first recording in the mid-1960s -- coming to Greenwood for a rare public performance. Stricklin is playing 5:30-6:45 p.m. July 7 at the CenturyLink Tent Stage, 8-11 p.m. July 7 at the Inn on the Square ballroom and 9 p.m.-midnight July 8 at The Mill House.
Studebaker John is a multi-talented, internationally known blues musician from Chicago. He is performing 8-11 p.m. July 6 at Montague’s, 5:30-6:45 p.m. July 7 at the CenturyLink Tent Stage, 8-11 p.m. July 7 at the Inn on the Square ballroom and 9 p.m.-midnight July 8 at The Mill House.
Norman Taylor is a folksy, acoustic blues act based in New Jersey. Taylor is plying 8-10 p.m. July 6 at Flynn’s on Maxwell, 12-1 p.m. July 7 at the CenturyLink Tent Stage and 7-9 p.m. July 7 at the Buenavista Cafe.
Wallstreet & the Blues Brokers is a South Carolina band made up of four veteran musicians who specialize in roadhouse blues. The group will perform 8-11 p.m. July 6 at The Mill House.
Tad Walters is a multi-instrument musician from Raleigh, North Carolina who’s played with musicians like Bob Margolin and Pinetop Perkins. Tad Walters is performing 2:30-4 p.m. July 7 at the CenturyLink Tent Stage, 6-7 p.m. July 7 at the Arts Center and 3-4 p.m. July 8 at the CenturyLink Tent Stage.
A blues musician returning to the Blues Cruise who has been performing since the 1960s, Rev. Marv Ward of Virginia draws his inspiration from blues legends such as Freddie King. Ward is performing 8-11 p.m. July 6 at The Mill House and 12-1:30 p.m. July 7 at McCaslan’s Book Store.
Lightnin’ Wells is a returning artist and an eclectic country-blues performer from North Carolina. Wells is performing 8-11 p.m. July 6 at Buffalo Grill, 1-2:15 p.m. July 7 at the CenturyLink Tent Stage, 8-10 p.m. July 7 at Flynn’s on Maxwell and 7-9 p.m. July 8.
Contact staff writer Conor Hughes at 864-943-2511 or on Twitter@IJConorHughes.