Summer Concert Series Offers Blues, Jazz, Rock & Roll


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The Pomeroy Blues & Jazz Society are pleased to announce the schedule for the 14th annual Rhythm on the River concert series.

A wide variety of music is in store this summer, from smooth jazz to straight-up blues to some good 'ol roots rock 'n roll–another fantastic year of music on the river!

July 5: The John Horne Quartet

Guitarist John Horne is professor of Guitar and Jazz Studies at Ohio University. He has also taught for the National Guitar Workshop, Fur Peace Ranch, TrueFire.com and has contributed to Acoustic Guitar Magazine.

The John Horne Quartet presents a wide variety of instrumental blues and jazz music informed by many of John’s influences, including pieces by guitarists Larry Carlton, Robben Ford, John Scofield and even British rockers The Police.

Joining John will be saxophonist Matt James, who has toured internationally with Phil Collins and the Glenn Miller Orchestra, bassist Steven Heffner who works with the Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr. orchestra and drummer Patric Buchroeder, a recent graduate of the Ohio University School of Music and director of bands at Chillicothe High School.

July 12: James Armstrong Blues Band

Guitarist, singer and songwriter James Armstrong was born to play the blues, with a blues vocalist-mother and a jazz guitar-playing father.

Born in Los Angeles, Calif., Armstrong formed his first band in the seventh grade and by the age of 17, he was touring the country. Today, he travels the world and continues to infuse his voice and guitar playing with his unique personality and seasoned skills.

Armstrong’s latest release, Blues at the Border, recorded in New York and Texas for his new label, Cat Food Records, manages to honor the sound of traditional blues while giving it the contemporary grit his fans have grown accustomed to hearing.

Instead of buckling under the pressures of being a touring bluesman in the 21st century, he’s made them the topic of many of the songs on his much-awaited new album. While economic hard times and a climate of fear after 9/11 have ended many careers in the industry, James is not a stranger to hardship.

"As a survivor of a violent home invasion, I’ve always known that life is not about how many times you fall but how many times you get back up. I wanted to make an album to reflect how much the world has changed," he stated on his website.

Seen live, Armstrong has a confident stage presence that combines grace with mischief. Few blues artists know how to play the crowd as James can, shifting dynamics from a whisper to a growl.

Wherever he travels around the world, his magnetism continues to hush a noisy rabble or entice a crowd to follow him out into the street or down the length of a beach. Little wonder he’s been dubbed "The Ambassador of the Blues."

July 19: JP Soars & the Red Hots

JP Soars is not a typical blues guitarist. He has a diverse musical background that encompasses a multitude of influences.

"I love T-bone Walker, Jesse May Hemphill, Wes Montgomery, Django Reinhardt, Muddy Waters, Johnny Guitar Watson, Guitar Slim and Louis Jordan," he said. "But I also love Tito Puente, Miles Davis, Hank Williams, Black Sabbath and Slayer."

Soars toured the globe and recorded several records with some of the most extreme metal bands in the world before finding his home in the blues. It is these attributes that are giving Soars an instantaneously recognizable style.

"When I first heard JP Soars, I knew right away that he was separate from the rest of the pack," said fellow blues guitarist and former Nighthawks member Jimmy Thackery.

In February 2009 Soars and his band took home top honors in Memphis, Tennessee's International Blues Challenge, as well as the coveted Albert King Award for Most Promising Guitarist.

That win, combined with Soars’ intense work ethic, the pure passion for the music he plays, a constant desire to improve and a continual strive for "customer satisfaction," has allowed Soars and company to develop themselves into an in-demand international touring band that is growing day-by-day, week-by-week and year-after-year.

Aug. 2: Johnny Rawls

Johnny Rawls was born in Columbia, Miss., in 1951 and raised in Purvis and Gulfport, Miss. He acquired an early interest in music when hearing his grandfather play the blues guitar one Christmas morning.

He began playing professionally while still in high school with such stars as ZZ Hill, Little Johnny Taylor, Joe Tex and the Sweet Inspirations.

In the mid-1970s, Rawls went to work for OV Wright as Wright’s band director. After Wright’s death in 1980, Johnny led Little Johnny Taylor’s band until 1985, when he began touring as a solo artist and made his first solo recording on the Rainbow label.

Recording on Touch Records, Rooster Blues, Rock House, Reach and JSP Records, Rawls has done it all, from producing, songwriting, horn arranging to rhythm and lead guitar, bass, keyboard, vocals and background vocals.  

Rawls has appeared on the cover of Living Blues Magazine and has been nominated four times for the W.C. Handy Award. His most recent award came from the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame for RB Male Vocalist of the Year, 2006.

With over 200 dates a year, his live appearances have included the Chicago Blues Festival (twice), The Russian River Blues Festival, The King Biscuit Blues Festival, The Portland Waterfront Blues Festival and Poconos, as well as festivals in Sweden and Poland. He can also be heard on XM Radio’s Bluesville

Rawls' most recent album, Soul Survivor, was released in 2012 on Catfood Records. The album has been nominated for 2013 Soul Blues Album of the Year by the Blues Music Awards and Rawls is up for Male Soul Artist of the Year (his 9th and 10th BMA nominations)

Aug. 9: Webb Wilder  

"Work hard, rock hard, eat hard, sleep hard, grow big, wear glasses if you need 'em." – Webb Wilder

There are roots-rockers, and then there’s Webb Wilder, an evangelist for real rock 'n' roll. As a singer, guitarist, bandleader, film actor, songwriter and humorist, he may be roots-rock’s only true Renaissance man.  

Hardly a purist, he has described the music that he and his band, The Beatnecks, make as, "Rock for roots fans and roots for rock fans." In essence: Rock and Roll.

There’s nothing new about combining R&B, rock and roll, country, blues, pop and rock. The Rolling Stones and the Beatles proved that it can yield marvelous and diverse results.

Again, Wilder isn't a purist. That doesn't mean he isn't picky about the quality of the music. That includes everything from the sonics of the recordings, the choice of players, the influences he draws on, the songs he chooses to cover or how attentive he is to the craftsmanship of his own songs.

A native of Hattiesburg, Miss., Wilder moved to Austin, Texas, in 1976 with his boyhood friend, Bobby "Crow" Field. Incorporating a British Invasion influence (among others) into their double-time tunes separated Wilder’s music from the pack.

After moving to Nashville, Wilder and Field formed The Beatnecks in 1985. As Nashville moved toward unapologetically commercial fare, Wilder and Field were busy crafting their signature brand of rock 'n' roll, founded on classic influences from both sides of the pond.

Wilder’s debut, It Came From Nashville, a brazenly rocking bar-band rave-up, seems even more unlikely now than it must have seemed then.

His subsequent albums (Hybrid Vigor, Doo Dad, Town & Country, Acres of Suede, About Time and Born To Be Wilder), have continually maintained the high standard set by the first, becoming textbooks for aspiring roots-rockers and showing there was (and is) a vibrant market for their hybrid brand of Southern musical gumbo.

In concert, Wilder spikes the punch between songs with potent doses of rustic wit and character, transcendent mediations, incantations and codes by which to live.

For more information about Rhythm on the River, visit the Pomeroy Blues & Jazz Society's website at www.pomeroyblues.org.