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2021 Virtual Lineup

2021 Virtual Lineup

The last half-hour or so of any Mavs concert is usually just about the happiest place to be on the planet.  -Artsfuse

The Mavericks, the eclectic rock, Tex-Mex and country group known for crisscrossing musical boundaries with abandon, has gone through three distinct phases since it was founded in Miami in 1989. An initial period of heady success was marked by big hits and critical acclaim in the ‘90s, including a Grammy for the single “Here Comes the Rain.” A long hiatus started in 2003 when the musicians each went their own way. Lead singer Raul Malo went on to release six solo albums, while bass player Robert Reynolds and keyboardist Jerry Dale McFadden co-founded the supergroup SWAG, along with Ken Coomer of Wilco and Tom Petersson of Cheap Trick. Finally, a triumphant reunion brought the band back together in 2012, and they recently celebrated the band’s 30th anniversary. Now, The Mavericks have ushered in the fourth phase of their evolution with the #1 Billboard debut of their first-ever all-Spanish album, En Español. With this project, singer Raul Malo goes back to his roots growing up in Miami as the son of Cuban immigrants. Through his meteoric early success in alt-country with the Mavericks, Malo maintained his love for his Latin roots, and after the band regrouped, he took more time to explore them, flying to Cuba to take part in a music documentary that aired on PBS called Havana Time Machine. The addition of this collection of powerful and melodic songs, many of them Spanish language standards, means the band’s set is more eclectic and exciting than ever!

Sugaray Rayford is a soul singer who brilliantly weaves blues, jazz and gospel inflections into his soaring songs.”  –Living Blues

Sugaray Rayford stands at the forefront of American soul music and has for many years. The Texas-born bandleader brings a mastery of music to the stage and studio that he began developing as a drummer and singer in church at the age of 7. A childhood of hardship and a grueling stint in the Marines inform his soulful rasp and emotive vocal style, which hint at his first-hand experience with poverty and loss. His six albums and stirring stage shows have won him world-wide acclaim, including a Grammy nomination and back-to-back BMAs for Soul Blues Artist of the Year in 2019 and 2020.  His latest release, Somebody Save Me, is an ambitious album that slides gracefully between the new blues of Gary Clark Jr. and Fantastic Negrito, the rock soul stylings of The War and Treaty and the vintage Daptones soul of the late Charles Bradley and Sharon Jones, bringing a fresh take to classic sounds. As brilliant as the group is in the studio, the stage shows take the music to another level, led by Sugaray’s explosive energy and James Brown dance moves and driven home by the skill and power of the band. “Think back to, say, the Golden days of Chess and people like Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters; then factor in the sound of classic soul men like Solomon Burke and add a sprinkle of the big voiced icons like Teddy P and you’re getting near to the sound of Sugaray Rayford,” says Soul and Jazz and Funk. This is always a show you don’t want to miss!

A sister act with staying power” – NPR

Rebecca & Megan Lovell of Larkin Poe are singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist sisters creating their own brand of roots rock ‘n’ roll: gritty, soulful, and flavored by their southern heritage. Originally from Atlanta and currently living in Nashville, they are descendants of tortured artist and creative genius Edgar Allan Poe. In any normal year, Larkin Poe would have released an acclaimed new album and then hit the road for a very long time. But of course, 2020 was no ordinary year. The Grammy Award-nominated sister duo kicked things off in June with their fifth studio album, Self Made Man, topping an array of Billboard charts while earning unanimous acclaim around the world. When Larkin Poe released Self Made Man, it was in the wake of a remarkable two-year run that saw them earn a #1 Billboard Blues Chart album and a “Best Contemporary Blues Album” Grammy Award nomination for 2018’s Venom & Faith. But instead of a summer of tour buses and packed theaters, the Atlanta-bred, Nashville-based Lovells found themselves at home in 2020, performing many livestream concerts and adding to their much-loved YouTube covers series. That got them thinking, and now we have Larkin Poe’s second album of 2020: Kindred Spirits, a collection of stripped-back versions of covers, both classic and new. No one knows what this next year holds but rest assured Larkin Poe will find ways to keep it fun and interesting for everyone, for, as they say, “we are all kindred spirits.”

“Red-hot guitar and one of the most distinctive voices in the business.” – Blues Blast Magazine

 Joe Louis Walker is a true powerhouse guitar virtuoso, unique singer and prolific songwriter. Walker, a Blues Hall of Fame inductee and six-time Blues Music Award winner, has toured extensively throughout his career, performing at the world’s most renowned music festivals, and earned a legion of dedicated fans. Looking back on his rich history, Walker shares, “I’d like to be known for the credibility of a lifetime of being true to my music and the blues. Sometimes I feel I’ve learned more from my failures than from my successes, but that’s made me stronger and more adventurous, and helped me create my own style. I’d like to think that when someone puts on one of my records they would know from the first notes, ‘That’s Joe Louis Walker.’” Walker’s newest album, “Blues Comin’ On,” features all the sounds that have made him the legend he is, and also includes guest performances by fellow blues icons Keb’ Mo’, Eric Gales, and Albert Lee, plus Detroit soul singer Mitch Ryder, harmonica virtuoso Lee Oskar, Hot Tuna’s Jorma Kaukonen, punk rock vocalist Charlie Harper, legendary session player Waddy Wachtel, and so many more. “Blues Comin’ On” explodes with the passionate playing and soulful melodies that have made Walker a favorite among true blues aficionados, including the Rolling Stones. With each release Walker’s audience continues to grow as his touring schedule expands. He’s played all over the U.S. and Canada, major European festivals including The North Sea Jazz Festival, Glastonbury, Notodden and Montreux, as well as festivals in Japan, Australia, Taiwan, Ireland, Turkey and Brazil. “Blues is a big tent,” he says, “morphing into a bigger tent. Young folks like good blues when they hear it, and I’m here to make sure they want to listen.”

“A soul blues blaster that has been bubbling under for way too long. With a crew that believes good taste is timeless backing her up, this is classic soul blues that doesn’t cotton to retro or nu—it just is. And it smokes.”Little Village

We are so excited to introduce you to the amazing vocals of Bay Area blues singer supreme, Tia Carroll. Tia has been performing steadily with her own band for decades in California, and made some successful recordings before in rock, gospel, and blues (with bands in Italy and Brazil.) Her most recent album is breaking her out into a wider world that is eagerly embracing her, and no wonder. Tia’s emotive vocals truly mesh well together with the BMA-nominated piano and organ playing of Little Village’s Jim Pugh and the jaw dropping, yet tasteful guitar of Kid Andersen. The Sons of Soul Revivers also added awesome gospel soul stirring vocals to many of the tunes, including their heartfelt rendition of the Staples Singers’ classic “Why Am I Treated So Bad?” and Z.Z. Hill’s deep soul blues ballad, “I Need Someone.” The ridiculously talented and unique Charlie Hunter (who plays guitar and bass simultaneously) guests on “Ain’t Nobody Worrying,” an exceptionally cool struttin’ funky cover of a gem from soul star Anthony Hamilton. “Our Last Time” is a killer Jim Pugh tune that he and Robert Cray recorded during their years playing together. Tia has also included an inspirational message song, “Move On,” featuring Brazilian guitar star Igor Prado on stunning lead, that is perfect for the moment. Let’s all heed Tia’s advice as she declares “I gotta message for y’all…get up when you fall and MOVE ON!” This is one of the most powerful women making her way up in the world of blues. Join the ride!

“Fusing delta and hill country with elements of jam-band rock, he and his drummer packed an incredible punch, and never let the momentum die down.” – Nashville Scene

The blues is music for all time—past, present, and future—and few artists simultaneously exemplify those multiple temporal moments of the genre like North Mississippi’s Cedric Burnside. The Mississippi Hill Country blues guitarist and singer/songwriter contains within him the legacy and future of the region’s prescient sound stories. The grandson of hill country blues luminary RL Burnside, Cedric Burnside was born in the blues as much as he was in funk, rock, soul, and hip-hop. These latter sensibilities are reflected across his work, as he drives Hill Country blues into grooves that lend themselves readily to an urgent, modern moment. But he is also keenly his grandfather’s grandson, who he studied so carefully over a decade playing with him that he came to know him better than his own self. By age 13, Cedric was on the road with his “Big Daddy” Burnside, playing drums, being raised up by the music and the road, and developing the next, electric generation of the Hill Country calling and sound. Since then, Cedric has made two Grammy-nominated albums and has become the worldwide face of modern hill country sounds. Now he is out with a new album, I Be Trying, that reflects the struggles he has faced in the last several years, complemented by star collaborators Alabama Shakes bassist Zac Cockrell, North Mississippi Allstars guitarist Luther Dickinson, and principal collaborator Reed Watson on drums. His five-song set for the Winthrop virtual festival will serve up the best of the hill country blues, both traditional and modern, along with reassurance that in our struggles, we are not alone.


“Standing on the shoulders of giants, Lady A delivers a thunderously powerful new single,” -American Blues Scene

Polly O’Keary is a powerhouse blues/rock singer whose voice has the resonance and attitude that permeates her impressive bass playing” -Blues in Britain

The Methow Juke Joint Allstars is a collaboration of two artists and their bands who are well-known to Winthrop blues fans as hosts of the late-night beer garden blues jams that follow the main stage performances each day of the festival. Polly O’Keary founded and ran the beer garden jam session the year the post-main stage event migrated from downtown Winthrop to the festival grounds and grew it from a small affair held on a sheet of plywood to a signature event held on a massive second stage under a giant big-top tent. When Polly began working as a bassist for touring acts, Anita “Lady A” White took over MC duties and has thrilled audiences in the tent ever since with her giant voice and personality. At the last live Winthrop festival, Lady A and Polly O’Keary joined forces, along with Polly O’Keary and the Rhythm Method band members, Dave Miller on guitar and Tommy Cook on drums, to host the jam, to the delight of the crowd. Last year they collaborated again on the first virtual festival, and they had so much fun they did it again this year, this time bringing in Lady A keyboardist, singer, and songwriter John Oliver III. This year Polly, Lady A, and John Oliver III all are releasing new albums. In this performance Polly and Lady A each perform a song from their new releases, including Polly’s “Brand New Day,” which includes a guest appearance by Lady A both on the album and live. This crew shows that the show goes on, even when it’s got to take new shapes, and when we are all back together again, it will be better than ever!

“Like all great jazz and soul singers, Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Blount-Trotter dwell in their songs, inhabiting every measure and phrase, elevating the music and transforming us as they express tenderness, pain, or joy in their vocals.” -Folk Alley

Since forming in 2014, The War And Treaty have amassed a following as eclectic as their sound itself, a bluesy but joyful fusion of Southern soul, gospel, country, and rock-and-roll. Known for a live show nearly revival-like in intensity, the husband-and-wife team of Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Blount-Trotter endlessly create an exhilarating exchange of energy with their audience, a dynamic they’ve brought to the stage in opening for the legendary Al Green and touring with the likes of Brandi Carlile and Jason Isbell. In 2018, Rolling Stone described the single from The War and Treaty’s debut album Healing Tide as a “joyfully relentless title track, reminiscent of classic Ike and Tina Turner rock-infused soul.” When it came time to choose a title for their forthcoming sophomore album, The War And Treaty quickly landed on Hearts Town—the Nashville duo’s adoring nickname for their ardently devoted fanbase. As their fanbase continues to expand exponentially, The War And Treaty feel more and more inspired by the Hearts Town community and its boundless potential for mutual uplift. “This is a place where everything that is broken can be fixed,” says Michael. “It’s a world where racism can be erased and where we don’t live in our selfishness, but instead always empathize with others. A world where we encourage one another and pick each other up, and we feed the hungry and we clothe the naked. Hearts Town is a place where you can come broken and open, regardless of your past, and find love just like we have.” After experiencing their joyous and infectious music, you will be a part of Hearts Town, too!

“When a guy who has been grinding up the road for three decades tells you that life is a tough battle but still, and always, worth fighting with everything you’ve got, you best believe him. If the vocals aren’t enough to convince you then the unstoppable rhythm section will give you something to hold on to until you’re rested and ready for your next battle.” -Rock and Blues Muse

Tim “Too Slim“ Langford is a monster guitarist and unabashed blues rocker whose influences run the gamut from Lightnin’ Hopkins, Freddy King, Duane Allman, and Lynyrd Skynyrd to Robin Trower. He is a prolific singer/songwriter whose songs have now yielded an impressive thirteen studio albums, two solo albums and several live CDs all on his own Underworld Records imprint. The band’s most recent release, The Remedy, is the latest giant step in the evolution of their contemporary blues-rock sound that has been described as “Straight Whiskey Blues with a Southern Rock Beer Chaser.” The album debuted at #3 on the Billboard Top Blues Album Chart. High Desert Heat, their 2018 release, charted eleven times in the Billboard Top Blues Album Chart in 2018 and was nominated for Best Blues/Rock album at the 2019 Blues Music Awards. Too Slim and the Taildraggers’ high-voltage blues-rock has been thrilling audiences for years. Tim “Too Slim” Langford has received Lifetime Achievement and Hall of Fame awards by three Northwest blues societies, as well as more than 40 regional and national music awards. After more than 30 years of knocking it out of the park on recordings and stages across the world, Too Slim and the Taildraggers show no sign of slowing down. It wouldn’t be a Winthrop Rhythm and Blues Festival without them!

I just love the tremendous, forthright raunchy grit in the Pine Leaf Boys’ performances.” -Living Tradition

Louisiana’s finest, four-time Grammy-nominated, world-renowned Pine Leaf Boys have made a name for presenting their own inimitable brand of Louisiana music with youthful exuberance. Hailing from southwest Louisiana, the Pine Leaf Boys, known for their wild shows and thoughtful arrangements, have breathed new life into Louisiana music, reviving ancient songs and bringing them to the bandstand. Being described in the New York Times as, “... the link that connects the young and the old generations,” and “the best new, energetic, and fun Cajun band in a very long time,” the Pine Leaf Boys play the old fashion dance hall standards while making a priority to bring many of the more obscure songs of past masters into their repertoire and play them with gusto. The Pine Leaf Boys have been invited on six occasions by the U.S. State Department to tour the world and present true music to Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Jerusalem in 2009 and again to Latvia, Denmark, and Slovenia is 2010 and a third time to the “Stan” countries in 2012 (Uzbek, Tajik, and Kyrgz). The variety and energy they release evolves through their shows, bringing multi-faceted angles to Cajun, Creole, and Zydeco. Their mission is to present the beautiful, powerful music of their ancestors and present the real Cajun music to the world and prove that it is still thriving and full of life. The Pine Leaf Boys have preserved the traditional Cajun sound, while allowing it to breathe and stretch with those who play it.those who play it.

“Ruthie Foster is a 100% no-foolin’ force of nature with vision, talent, and soul to spare.” -Rock and Blues Muse

Hailing from the tightly knit musical community of Austin, award-winning singer-songwriter Ruthie Foster has spent more than 25 years becoming one of the most widely respected blues, soul, and gospel musicians in the world. Described by Rolling Stone as “pure magic to watch and hear,” her vocal talent was elevated in worship services at her community church. Drawing influence from legendary acts like Mavis Staples and Aretha Franklin, Foster developed a unique sound unable to be contained within a single genre. As a result, she has found herself singing duets with Bonnie Raitt, standing on stage with the Allman Brothers at New York’s Beacon Theater and trading verses with Susan Tedeschi. She has also racked up seven BMAs, three Austin Music Awards, the Grand Prix du Disque award from the Académie Charles-Cros in France, a Living Blues Critics’ Award for Female Blues Artist of the Year, the title of an “inspiring American Artist” as a United States Artists 2018 Fellow, and three Grammy nominations for Best Blues Album. Her latest album, Joy Comes Back, described as “some folk, some blues, some soul, some rock, some gospel,” illustrates Ruthie’s genre-spanning talent. As Ruthie wraps her oh-so-malleable, impeccably nuanced voice around each song, the wisdom of her selections, the strength of each arrangement, their near-seamless flow and the outstanding talent of her band converge into yet another reminder that Foster’s artistry really is in a league of its own.

“LeRoy Bell has a voice ideally suited to the flavor of bluesy pop he’s delivered…It has texture, passion and strength.” -Rambles.net

Seattle’s own Leroy Bell has forgotten more about songwriting than most musicians ever learn. As a staff songwriter for his uncle’s West Coast powerhouse agency Mighty Three Music, Bell teamed up with Casey James and wrote songs that would be recorded by The Spinners, The O’Jays, The Temptations, Rita Marley and most notably Elton John. After beginning a career as a recording artist in his own right, Leroy was tapped by international artists for collaboration works, one of which ended up going double platinum. In 2011, Leroy came to the attention of the world during his sojourn on the XFactor USA, which aired in 120 countries. LeRoy gained millions of fans all over the world that fell in love with his soulful vocal sounds and timeless style. The public reaction to LeRoy’s XFactor performances resulted in him trending worldwide on Twitter on several occasions.  Because of the exposure and promotion gained from this international exposure LeRoy Bell is now one of the most distinguished artists to evolve out of the reality TV music/entertainment world. Leroy most recently launched another collaboration, joining up with legendary Saturday Night Live guitarist G.E. Smith in 2019 to form a combination that quickly evolved into a “COVID super group.” Add in Simon Kirk from Bad Company on drums and LeRoy’s longtime bassist Terry Morgan and the project was born. Their record was released in the fall of 2020 and received glowing reviews from Rolling Stone and many other noted music trade magazines. At the Winthrop virtual festival, Leroy Bell appears with his own band, His Only Friends, demonstrating the songwriting prowess that has made him one of the most sought-after blues performers today.


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