2nd Annual Stafford Springs Blues Festival ~ Duke Robillard

The Stafford Blues Festival

2nd Annual Stafford Springs Blues Festival ~ Duke Robillard

Mike Crandall, Lydia Warren, Jr. Krauss & the Shakes, Easy Baby, Mike Law & The Playboys, Paul Gabriel, Ramblin’ Dan Stevens

Sat, August 9, 2014

12:00 pm


Off Sale

Duke Robillard
Duke Robillard
Michael John "Duke" Robillard (born October 4, 1948 in Woonsocket, Rhode Island) is an American blues musician.

After playing in various bands and working for Guild guitars, he co-founded Roomful of Blues with pianist Al Copley in 1967. He has also been a member of the The Fabulous Thunderbirds which included Kim Wilson, replacing Jimmie Vaughan. Also experienced in Jazz, Swing, Rock and Roll and modern electric blues forms, Robillard is generally regarded as a guitar player keeping the blues style of T-Bone Walker.
★Featured performer at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's Chuck Berry tribute concert on October 27, 2012 along with Chuck Berry, Joe Bonamassa, Rick Derringer, Merle Haggard, Lemmy Kilmister, Steve Jordan, Ronnie Hawkins, Chuck Prophet and Rosie Flores

★2013 DownBeat Critics Poll, ranked among the Best Blues Artist of Group
★2012 Blues Music Award Nominee - Gibson Guitar Award - an honor he has won previously 4 times (category was previously known as Best Instrumentalist - Guitar)
★2012 Living Blues Award Nominee - for Most Outstanding Musician (Guitar)
★2011 Blues Music Award Nominee for Traditional Blues Album of the Year for Passport to the Blues AND Best Instrumentalist - Guitar
★2011 Boston Music Awards Nominee for Blues Artist of the Year

★2011 B. B. King International Artist of the Year Award Nominee in The Toronto Blues Society's 15th Maple Blues Awards program. Duke won this award three years in a row (2001-2003) and this also marks Duke's seventh nomination
★2010 GRAMMY Nomineee for Best Traditional Blues Album for Stomp! The Blues Tonight (2nd nomination in 3 years in this category)
★2010 Blues Music Awards Winner for Traditional Blues Male Artist of the Year. Also nominated in 2010 for Album of the Year, Band of the Year, and Best Instrumentalist - Guitar.
★Featured on Mountain Stage (NPR) in July 2009 and frequently spotlighted on House of Blues Radio Hour, most recently having Passport to the Blues chosen as Blues CD of the Month for September 2010
★2004 Keeping The Blues Alive Award for Best Producer presented by The Blues Music Foundation
★Collaborations playing with and/or producing: Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Maria Muldaur, Dr. John, John Hammond; plus sorely-missed legends such as Jay McShann, Ruth Brown, Jimmy Witherspoon, Rosco Gordon and Long John Baldry. Duke also produced Joe Louis Walker's "Between a Rock and The Blues" which won Album of the Year at the 2010 Blues Music Awards.
★Founder and 12-year member of Roomful of Blues, which accompanied Big Joe Turner and Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson and many more on record and in live appearances. After leaving the group, Duke played briefly with rockabilly king Robert Gordon, then replaced Jimmie Vaughan in the Fabulous Thunderbirds
Mike Crandall
Mike Crandall
Mike Crandall grew up in the North Stonington
, CT area, home to such greats as Roomful of Blues,
Sugar Ray Norcia and many others.
Began playing harmonica in high school often playing as he walked to and from school.
Started first band in the late 1980's called Joe Vic and the Blues Inhalers.
Started the Mike Crandall Band in the mid '90's.
This band has racked up several awards in this decade including three time Best Blues Band for the CT Blues Society, 2000, 2002, 2008.
Boston Blues Society Best Blues Band winner, 2010.
Two time finalists in the prestigious International Blues Challenge in Memphis TN
Lydia Warren
Lydia Warren
Since Lydia Warren’s 2001 debut at the ripe old age of 17, she has been turning heads in the blues scene. The guitarist/singer/songwriter cut her teeth opening for blues and classic rock luminaries B.B. King, Buddy Guy, and Little Feat throughout New England, earning a Boston Music Award nomination and a feature on NBC’s Today Show. While touring throughout Lebanon, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, and the United States, Lydia independently released six albums to great acclaim and international airplay. Filled with original songs, her records showcase Chicago blues aesthetics, modern musicality, and soulful rock sensibilities. Lydia also collaborates with Boyd Small (NL), the Brothers & Sisters Blues Tour, The Neurotics, Gracie Curran, and Matt Kelley.

In 2013 Lydia Warren returned to the studio with Josh Fulero on guitar (Curtis Salgado, John Nemeth), Danny Banks on bass (John Nemeth), and Chris Rivelli on drums (Roomful of Blues, Janiva Magness) to record “Hotel Beds,” a fan-funded album showcasing what she as become known for; a love and mastery of West Side Chicago blues. “Hotel Beds” features ten tracks cut live in the studio during one 48-hour recording session, with vintage gear and minimal edits. The songs run the gamut from the flirty title-track shuffle, to the moody slide-infused “Memphis,” to the classic slow blues “So Many Roads.” “Hotel Beds” is the audible culmination of 13 years of live performances, countless appearances with blues masters, and trials and tribulations in love and life. The record is currently for sale on iTunes and and shows, and is climbing the Roots Music Report radio airplay chart.

Separating Lydia from the pack of other young blues musicians with impressive resumes and endorsements from the elder statesmen of the genre is her pursuit of blues scholarship in academia. Lydia earned her A.A. in Music from Middlesex Community College in 2011, receiving a Follett Scholarship and the Music Department’s award for Outstanding Performance. She was then accepted to Smith College, the largest privately endowed college for women in the country, on an Ada Comstock Scholarship. In 2013 Lydia received a Praxis Grant, funding her summer internship at Smithsonian Folkways, the nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington, D.C. Graduating in December of 2013 with a B.A. in Music and a certification in Ethnomusicology, Lydia was awarded the Harriet Dey Barnum Prize for Best All-Around Student of Music. Her independent undergraduate work concentrated on race, gender, and (perceived) authenticity in modern blues music and the history of Beale Street. She is currently pursing a PhD in Critical and Comparative Studies at the University of Virginia’s McIntire Department of Music.
Jr. Krauss & the Shakes
Jr. Krauss & the Shakes
This four piece group came together in 1999 with a common desire to play the classic blues and jump of the original stars of the postwar blues renaissance.
The members have established themselves in bands such as The House rockers, LA Jones, The Hornets, Hash Brown Blues band, Dance Committee, 10/202 band and the Hot Skillet Papas. Influences include Little Walter Jacobs, Willie Dixon, Big Walter Horton, T-Bone Walker, Elmore James and many more. Jr Krauss and the Shakes were winners of the 2005 Blues Challenge, organized by the Ct. Blues Society. As one person put it " not your average blues band".
Easy Baby
Easy Baby
In just over 2 years, EASYBABY has quickly become a Southern New England Blues favorite landing premier Club and Festival Gigs throughout CT, RI and MA.
EASYBABY has been finalists in both the 2012 and 2013 Connecticut and Boston Blues Society Blues Challenges.
EASYBABY CD “Cold World” enjoys frequent airplay from wwuh, wmua, wtcc, whus, wpkn, wscu, wcni, wacc and mitchell radio. Easybaby's version of gospel favorite “Wade in the water” is included on Bridgeport’s WPKN “Top 20 play list”. "Cold World" is also in the running for CT Blues Society’s “Best new Blues CD” with their original "Meet Me" being featured on CT’s current "Best of Blues" compilation CD.
EASYBABY’s unique sound comes courtesy of Hartford’s reigning Blues Queen, Kelly Rago, Blues Guitar whiz Trevor West, Blues Harp master "Kosher Kid" and the "super tight" rhythm section of Bassist “Big Max” Samson and Drummer Johnny “JB” Bruce.
"Easybaby was simply fantastic at La Luna in Mystic last night. A very enthusiastic crowd of both old and new Easybaby fans were on hand to thoroughly enjoy 2 sets of torrid, scorching blues, courtesy of Hartford's reigning Blues Queen, vocalist Kelly Rago, fronting the purest musical blues foursome around.
With so much polished new material emphasizing a lot of their own tunes, and their critically acclaimed debut CD "Cold World" doing so well, this group seems to be poised for the next big leap..... - Richard Douglas: Rockshrink Musical Talent and Promotions"
“The show began with opening act EasyBaby, the amazingly talented 2012 and 2013 Finalists in both the Boston and CT Blues Challenges. This band of Blues Purists is the hottest thing on the New England Blues Scene today and singer Kelly Rago's torrid, perfect vocals sound even better live than on their popular CD "Cold World." The band received 2 standing ovations from old and new screaming fans, and happily extended their scorching set.”
" one of Connecticut's hottest bands"
-Ed Stack..President CTBS
"Easybaby is Hard Bluesin', Easy Dancin' and all around the Hottest Blues band in our region at this time. Harp player, Kosher Kid and the unique playing of guitarist Trevor West combine to back the talented, "BORN TO SING THE BLUES" voice of Kelly Rago. Bassist Max Samson and Drummer John Bruce put the blues beat down, leaving you no choice but to move, whether slow or jumpin'. You haven't seen them yet...what ya waiting for Blilie Holiday to come back??
--Dot Ames, Gramma's Attic, March 26, 2014
"Easybaby has grown into one of the most popular bands in CT... a welcome addition to any Festival." "Kelly Rago, an exceptional performer, conjures up visions of the classic blues women, baring her soul, singing the low down blues.

-Ed Stack, Pres. CT Blues Society
Mike Law & The Playboys
Mike Law & The Playboys
Mike Law & the Playboys founding members Mike Law and Carl Ricci started the band in 2002. Begun as merely a side project for both, after their first show they realized they had something special. Fast forward to the year 2013 and Mike is well known in the northeastern blues scene, paying his dues and laying down the ‘Law’ with his unique brand of Deep Blues.

Finding American roots rock, rhythm and blues for the first time, Mike was won over. The soul, the passion and the strength of the music had made him realize what his true love in life was. His musical influences include the likes of Johnny Guitar Watson, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Rogers, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Wynonie Harris, T Bone Walker, Gene Vincent and the Blasters.

With the stamp of approval from many local and national acts, Mike Law & the Playboys have not only entertained crowds throughout New England but have also gained the respect of their peers in the music industry.
Paul Gabriel
Paul Gabriel
Paul Gabriel is an Electric Blues guitarist, Singer/Songwriter and a recording session musician.
His professional career began in 1969 and has spanned forty four years as a working artist.

Early in his career Paul Gabriel appeared on three albums by singer-songwriter Harry Chapin, played slide guitar on Rory Block's Grammy nominated "Mama's Blues", toured with Michael Bolotin (a.k.a. Michael Bolton) and eventually formed a number of his own groups;
most notably The Paul Gabriel Band and Blue In The Face.
Blue In The Face recorded three highly acclaimed albums, the first receiving a four star review from DOWNBEAT Magazine.
Prior to the formation of Blue In The Face, Paul was starting to incorporate some of the influences he had obtained from listening to Duke Robillard, a major influence on him, along with T-Bone Walker and Mike Bloomfield, since the mid to late sixties.

In 2001 Paul Gabriel released his first solo album entitled FATE. This album is a transition recording in the sense that it is the first release featuring Paul Gabriel as a vocalist.
In September of 2006 Paul Gabriel and his Blues Band was formed further transforming Paul into a complete artist. In 2007 Smoke Ring Records released two new CD's featuring Paul Gabriel as a mature songwriter, vocalist and life-long artist. During 2008 -2013 the new CD's garnered excellent reviews world wide as Paul Gabriel continued to perform his own brand of Blues, Jazz and American Music into 2014.

A new release, “Paul Gabriel - What's The Chance" produced by Duke Robillard on Shining Stone Records was released on June 18th, 2013.

Since it's release on June 18th 2013, the album charted for 22 weeks, including The Living Blues Charts, Roots Music Report, and Blues Debut.
On Dec. 10th, 2013 the album was nominated for a Blues Music Award for Best New Artist Debut.
Ramblin’ Dan Stevens
Ramblin’ Dan Stevens
At the young age of sixteen, Dan Stevens' romantic streak was ignited by his first guitar teacher in small town central Pennsylvania who told him stories about the lives of traveling blues musicians like Mississippi John Hurt and Fred McDowell. After being inspired by Woody Guthrie’s book, “Bound for Glory”, the magnetic lure of the road captured his imagination and with a driving passion he hitchhiked and hopped freight trains guitar in hand across the United States five times, eventually covering over 100,000 miles.

Always seeking diverse experiences, he has worked as a teacher in Pennsylvania and Arizona, a rock-climbing instructor in New Mexico, broke his collarbone riding bulls in Colorado and sailed schooners for a living on the Eastern seaboard. He lived full time on his own wooden sloop in Mystic CT for a couple of years while performing solo up and down the East Coast. A high-light of this period was sailing throughout Central and South America as mate aboard David Crosby’s (Crosby, Nash, and Young) sailboat, the Mayan.

Musically, Dan continued to hone his guitar skills taking lessons from renowned acoustic guitarist and W.C. Handy Award winner Paul Rishell, who taught him how to play slide. Later, he was blessed to study with Greenwich Village based folk/blues icon Dave Van Ronk during the last years of Van Ronk’s storied life. His repertoire reflects the influence of his revered teachers who actually knew and performed with many of the legendary blues masters. His tastes include delta blues “bottleneck slide” tunes, the more carefree piedmont style, and arrangements comprised of complex orchestration with plenty of chord changes up the neck in the spirit of Dave Van Ronk. His originals remain true to the traditional forces which powerfully shaped his early musical development and prompt listeners to praise the authenticity of his approach.

As a full time professional musician since 1991, Dan continues to tour incessantly along the East Coast, U.S. Virgin Islands, U.K., Canada and Germany. He has appeared with such artists as James Cotton, Charlie Musselwhite, Arlo Guthrie, Richie Havens, Charlie Daniels, Livingston Taylor, Ronnie Earl, and others. An irrepressible guitar collector, Dan surrounds himself with vintage and custom instruments acquired in his many travels. Usually packing three guitars, any given performance may find him choosing to play a 1950’s Sears Silvertone, a 1931 National Steel, a retro lime green Resophonic, and more.

Dan’s most recent CD, “Broke Down and Hungry”, features “Sugar Ray” Norcia, of Sugar Ray & the Bluetones and Roomful of Blues, on harmonica. Original songs such as “Broke Down and Hungry”, “Driving Fool”, “Open Road”, and “Ramblin’” give a sense of what is was like for him to travel 165,000 miles in three years in an ’88 Chevy Van. Art Tipaldi, Senior Writer for the Blues Revue magazine, in his review of this CD, offered, “His stylish fingerpicking and warm vocals shade these tunes with fresh, penetrating nuances.” Several of his traditional offerings include Big Bill Broonzy’s “Keep Your Hands Off Her” and “Long Tall Mama”, as well as Reverend Gary Davis’ “Light of this World”. In live shows, Dan often pauses between songs, offering historical trivia or relating incidents from his personal experience.

Termed “Connecticut’s hardest working bluesman” by the New York Times in 2002, he plays over 200 engagements a year, including concerts, clubs, festivals, coffeehouses, community and private events and educational programs. He has appeared at Long Island’s Riverhead Blues Festival, the Berlin Blues Festival in Connecticut and was the closer in the acoustic section of the Fleet Blues Festival in Albany, New York. Dan was a finalist at the International Blues Challenge '08 on Beale Street in Memphis TN with partner Chris D'Amato and has been chosen to be included on the roster of the Music Under New York program enabling him to perform in prime locations throughtout the MTA system such as Times Square and Grand Central Station. He lives in Old Lyme, Connecticut with his wife Gail and daughter, Haley.
Venue Information:
Palace Theater
75 Main St.
Stafford Springs, CT, 06076