Blues Fest snags new headliner

Published 8:17 am Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Scheduling conflicts are part of the music entertainment business.

When conflicts arise, promoters are left scurrying, attempting to come up with alternative groups that will still maintain the fans’ level of interest or possibly surpass those expectations.

Organizers of the Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Festival IV said they believe they hit one out of the park after Keb’ Mo’ agreed to play the festival this year. The Bogalusa Blues and Heritage Festival is scheduled for Sept. 25-26 in Cassidy Park.

Keb’ Mo’ headlines the event on Saturday, Sept. 26, after the Fabulous Thunderbirds cancelled their appearance because of a scheduling conflict. It seems one member of the Fabulous Thunderbirds agreed to play elsewhere and did not inform management until later.

“Whenever we found out the Fabulous Thunderbirds cancelled, we never skipped a beat. There are so many great blues musicians out there, but Keb’ Mo’ was at the top of the list,” BBHF Executive Director Malinda White said. “I went to the Blues Music Awards in Tennessee in May. When I saw Keb’ Mo walk in the door, I knew we had a winner. He is such a class act.”

White said Keb’ Mo’ has his own style of the blues.

“The first time I saw him, I realized how tight the band was with one another and professional in their delivery,” White said. People will be able to relate to the music he writes. His music is uplifting. Bringing him to Bogalusa is a big deal. We’ve had great response and feedback. He is definitely a good choice.”

Keb’ Mo’ most recently won a Blues Foundation award for his BLUESAmericana album. It was named the Best Contemporary Blues Album of the Year.

Keb’ Mo’ is a three-time Grammy Award winner. Although the musician is on record as saying the blues often makes people sad, White said she read an interview with the bluesman that indicated his desire to have the opposite effect.

“I want to bring something positive to the table, and blues is the way I get the privilege to do that,” Keb’ Mo’ said in the interview.

BBHF Publicity Chairman Marcelle Hanemann said the new headliner is a delight to have.

“He’s a master singer, songwriter and guitar player with a smooth, funky, soulful, beautiful and fun style, and he likes to engage and interact with his audiences,” Hanemann said. “His stage presence is delightful. He’s a gifted storyteller with lots to say. He’s thoughtful and heart-centered and playful. He nails the blues but leaves listeners uplifted and happy.”

Keb’ Mo’ and his band will follow the Royal Southern Brotherhood, Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen, Johnny Sansone, Mia Borders and the Cedric Burnside Project on the Blues Stage Saturday.

On Friday, Tinsley Ellis, Little Freddie King and Lil Red and Big Bad will get that stage heated up.

Saturday’s Heritage Stage will feature performances by exemplary artists in different music genres. They include Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers, Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue, Tea J. Moore, Beware of Bear and Remedy.

“Keb’ Mo’ compliments the lineup real well,” White said. “Bogalusa is in for a treat.”

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