The 2019 Lineup





Stage Map

This information pertains to the 2019 festival. Check back for updates.


Wednesday, October 9th

Big George Brock

12:00pm to 12:55pm

He told blues journalist Don Wilcock he saw Muddy Waters dive into the Mississippi the day he broke away from the plantation. One of his albums Heavyweight is aptly named. Big George once sparred with boxer Sonny Liston who hit him so hard he can still feel the headache today. And when England’s Blues & Rhythm magazine called him “the real deal,” it wasn’t hyperbole. And when Buddy Guy says he’s the last of the old guard, he’s forgetting Big George Brock.

Marcus “Mookie” Cartwright

12:00pm to 12:55pm

Blues renaissance man Roger Stolle describes the Arkansas bluesman as “an impassioned guitarist and singer. He is also one of a small-but-mighty group of young African-American blues players keeping the music alive in the land where it was born. Cartwright told Living Blues, “My momma made sure I finished high school, but when the money started coming in I started playing professionally at age 14 and I kept going with it. Somehow everybody likes me. I don’t know why.”

SBBS IBC Bands Winner (band) - Fonky Donkey

12:00pm to 12:50pm

Altered Five Blues Band

1:10pm to 2:10pm

Both guitarist Jeff Schroedl and vocalist Jeff Taylor laugh at that image. Their band, The Altered Five, creates hard driving electric blues that pays homage to the music’s colorful past while referencing contemporary life. It’s a balancing act. Taylor’s day job is Principal of a school in Wisconsin.  Schroedl’s day job is being executive vice president of Hal Leonard Corporation, the world’s largest creator of music publications and music education materials. Schroedl writes most of the lyrics and Taylor is credited with co-writing the songs sometimes along with the rest of the band. He has a rich baritone voice brimming with bragadocio in the tradition of Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley and can pull off lines about being a wanted man with a double-barreled chest and a ring tattoo who is “Charmed and Dangerous” and wants to be “your bad boy.” Schroedl’s guitar has a B.B. King tone, is a bit busier than Luther Allison, but nicely propels the songs.

Cedric Burnside Band

1:10pm to 2:15pm

Noted music journalist Ted Drozdowski called him “The Lion of Mississippi Hill Country guitar.” The grandson of Hill Country patriarch R. L. Burnside, his album Benton County Relic was nominated for this year’s Best Traditional Blues Grammy, and he took home a Blues Music Award for best drummer four years in a row. Often mentioned in the same breath as The North Mississippi Allstars with whom he’s played, he is bringing the hill country sound into a contemporary context.

Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, Bob Margolin & Bob Stroger

1:10pm to 2:15pm

This act is as close as we’ll ever get to capturing the treasure of a Muddy Waters performance in Muddy’s heyday. Bob on lead guitar, Kenny on drums and Bob on bass each has an up close and intimate tie to the heritage of Muddy Waters’ Chicago blues royalty extending back to the ’50s and ’60s. Each walks the tightrope between that electric legacy sound that changed American popular music for the next 60 years and today’s contemporary blues. Living history performed with consummate style.

Greg Martinez

2:30pm to 3:40pm

Gregg “Mac Daddy” Martinez—is Louisiana’s premier Blues/R&B/Swamp Pop artist and a member of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. His blend of blues, R&B and swamp pop music he describes as “bayou blues and Creole soul.” Gregg was born and raised and still lives in the Cajun country of south Louisiana.

Sterling Billingsley Band

2:35pm to 3:40pm

A Helena, Arkansas native, Sterling was born into the blues, is a walking encyclopedia of the genre, and a talented guitarist who loves to showcase others in his band. He also happens to be President of The Sonny Boy Blues Society and Music Chairman of The King Biscuit Blues Festival. He does not consider it hyperbole when he calls the Biscuit The Holy Grail of blues festivals.

The Cate Brothers

2:35pm to 3:40pm

Beloved Arkansas natives, these twin brothers have careers that thread through involvement with Ronnie Hawkins, Levon Helm, and The Band since the late ’50s. Their self-titled debut album in 1976 was produced by 2018’s Biscuit headliner Steve Cropper, Levon Helm, and yielded their biggest hit “Union Man.” Fiercely independent, and keepers of hickory-stoked sound that defines The Band and Arkansas. They are frequent Biscuit performers.

Andy T with Alabama Mike

4:00pm to 5:10pm

Andy Talamantez spent 23 years in the aerospace industry before becoming a fulltime blues guitarist, first with Nick Nixon, a veteran Nashville blues singer whose background included jamming with a young Jimi Hendrix. When Nixon retired in 2016, Andy T. teamed with Alabama Mike releasing his fourth album Double Strike co-produced with Anson Funderburgh, the only artist to have appeared at all the King Biscuit Blues Festivals. Both Nixon and Alabama Mike handled vocals reminiscent of Sam Myers, Funderburgh’s late vocalist. Andy T.’s early influence was Eric Clapton, but he honed his style playing with Smokey Wilson and Guitar Shorty in the late ’90s.

Chris O’Leary Band

4:00pm to 5:10pm

Chris was singer and front man for Levon Helm’s Barnburners for six years. His latest album 7 Minutes Late is getting airplay on Sirius/XM. He’s recorded with Hubert Sumlin and appeared on stage with James Cotton, the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Dan Akroyd. He’s a hoot!

Reba Russell

4:00pm to 5:10pm

Reba’s “Heaven Came to Helena” has become the festival’s unofficial signature song. Reba was Memphis’ top rocker until Rufus Thomas heard her in a cover band in 1992 and told her, ‘Ya got it! You use it! Do it!’ She’s done background vocals for John Nemeth, Tracy Nelson, Huey Lewis & The News, Jimmy Thackery, and Jim Dickinson. That’s Reba on background vocals for U2 and B.B. King on “When Love Comes to Town” on Rattle & Hum recorded in 1990 at Sun Studios. But it’s the Biscuit that puts the fire in her belly. “Being here made me realize that there’s a lot more to this music stuff than I ever expected, and everybody that plays here can kick ass. So, it was like, yeah, I’m doing this come hell or high water. I don’t care, but until I kinda gave myself over to (realizing) Delta roots music was what was moving me, I was just peddling till then. Memphis is blues, but King Biscuit is the freaking deal. This is it. It’s like are you kidding me?”

Kirk Fletcher

5:30pm to 6:35pm

A four-time Blues Music Award nominee, guitarist singer and songwriter Fletcher spent three years with the Fabulous Thunderbirds, played on Kim Wilson’s Grammy-nominated Smokin’ Joint live LP. In 2018, Fletcher recorded a video with Josh Smith and Joe Bonamassa, performing the Albert King track “Crosscut Saw.” Released in October, his third solo LP, Hold On, entered at number 15 in the Billboard Blues Albums chart and has been nominated for a Blues Music Award in the Contemporary Blues Album category.

Zac Harmon Band

5:30pm to 6:40pm

Zac wowed the Biscuit in 2015 with his energetic take on Chicago blues.  He’s the son of Mississippi’s first African American pharmacist who counted Muddy Waters among his customers. Zac Harmon is a Renaissance man. He toured with B. B. King, and took voice lessons from Sam Myers. A Singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer, he’s written songs for artists as disparate as Evelyn “Champagne” King, Freddie Jackson, The Whispers, K-Ci & Jo Jo, and The O’Jays and was a staff writer for Michael Jackson’s publishing company. He’s working on his sixth blues album, co-writing songs with John Hahn, Shemekia Copeland’s manger and principle songwriter.

Anson Funderburg & The Rockets

5:35pm to 6:45pm

There’s a yin and a yang to Anson Funerburgh. His electric guitar burns with Texas fire that Guitar Player Magazine compared to Otis Rush and Magic Sam. But his guitar can also soothe as the subtle support for Delta blues vocalists who have included Sam Myers, Nick Nixon, and Alabama Mike. Anson has that Austin strut, but his Delta creds are highlighted by being the only artist to have played all of Arkansas’ King Biscuit Blues Festivals.

Michael Burks Memorial Jam

6:00pm to TBD

Larry McCray

6:55pm to 8:10pm

He’s fire and ice. He may have learned the fire working on the Detroit assembly line, but the ice came from sitting outside the church in Arkansas listening to Sunday gospel. He never went inside. And the fire usually wins out. He’s a blues artist, but he could win a cutting contest with just about any rocker on the arena circuit today. And if you don’t believe me ask Derek Trucks and Dickie Betts of the Allman Brothers, Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo or Jimmy Herring of the Aquarium Rescue Unit and the Grateful Dead. All of them appear on McCray’s 2015 album the Gibson Sessions. That album features numbers by The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Seger, and Joe Cocker. Detroit rock certainly has fired McCray’s guitarist’s muse, but his voice is Arkansas born. “That’s the Bible Belt,” he told blues journalist Don Wilcock. “We lived on the corner from a sanctified church, and we would set out on Sunday, me and my brothers, and listen to the gospel music coming out of the church on the corner. And it was quite impressive.” But they never went inside. “By that time, I had my horns coming out. But you know, I’m a pretty moral person. I don’t go to church all the time because I believe church is in your heart.”

Billy Branch & The Sons of Blues

7:00pm to 8:10pm

Billy Branch is a true Chicago blues legacy. He played harmonica with Willie Dixon for six years and has played on more than 150 different recordings with Johnny Winer, Koko Taylor and Taj Mahal.  He was one of the first to develop a blues in the schools program and has made over 70 international tours. A three-time Grammy nominee, he’s backed by The Sons of The Blues, a band of veterans that includes: bass player Nick Charles (Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King, Tina Turner, Eddie Shaw, Valerie Wellington and the Rolling Stones), drummer Mose Rutues Jr. with the band 25 years, and pianist Sumito Ariyoshi, aka Ariyo (Otis Rush, Jimmy Rogers, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Eddie Shaw.)

Paul Thorn

7:10pm to 8:20pm

Paul Thorn all but stole the show from B.B. King at King Biscuit in 2010. His 2018 album, Don’t Let The Devil Ride debuted in the Billboard Top 100 the first week of release.  Thorn calls the music on the album dance pole gospel: “If you listen to the music that’s really sexy sounding, it sounds exactly like the music we sang in church when I was growing up. When we’d go visit the black churches, it was raunchy, man. It was spiritual, but it almost had a sexual undertone to it, and that’s what you hear on some of these songs on this record.”  “Every time I play a festival, I don’t want the last slot. You get more people to see you when you go on next to last ’cause when you go on last, they’re gonna be leavin’ on your last song which is a bummer. When you’re playing that last song, and you’re the headliner, you’re watching people walk out as you’re singing. That’s a bummer, man!”

Ruthie Foster (HEADLINER)

8:30pm to TBD

“I’m not just singing the blues, I singing my own story,” says three-time blues GRAMMY nominee Ruthie Foster. And what a story she has to tell. She’s honed her style playing with everyone from The North Mississippi Allstars to The Blind Boys of Alabama, from Warren Haynes to The Funky Meters. She’s just been nominated the Blues Foundation’s Koko Taylor Award for Best Traditional Blues Female Artist of The Year and in February was inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame. The AllMusic Guide compares her to Aretha Franklin and Ella Fitzgerald “with a wide palette of American song forms — gospel and blues to jazz, folk, and soul — and her live performances are powerfully transfiguring.” Rolling Stone says she’s “pure magic to watch and hear.” When she played the Biscuit in 2015, she said it felt like home. It’s very warm. It feels like I’m with my people.” Come home again with Ruthie. “It’s my story as a woman that’s grown up with gospel music. It’s really all these different types of genres being raised in Texas.  I look at music as in the beginning it really was a way of kind of a healing for me in a lotta ways.”

Kenny Wayne Shepherd (HEADLINER)

8:40pm to TBD

With eight number one blues albums and a string of number one rock singles, Saturday night headliner Kenny Wayne Shepherd is arguably the most successful blues/rock crossover act since Stevie Ray Vaughan. “It’s been my approach to take blues from the foundation and try to take it elsewhere,” says Shepherd, “because you don’t have rock without blues.” His tenth album, Lay It on Down, debuted at number one on the blues charts. He released his first at age 16, making him a 26-year veteran at age 41. Guitar World called the release “a king-size helping of Shepherd’s trademark roots-rocking fireworks.”

Delbert McClinton (HEADLINER)

8:45pm to TBD

More than half a century into his career, Friday night headliner Delbert McClinton is a transformative live performer. He’s earned two Grammys in the blues category; He taught John Lennon how to play harp; He duets with Bonnie Raitt on “Good Man, Good Woman” which won a Grammy in Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group. “Giving It Up for Your Love” was number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 35 Adult Contemporary. His duet with Tanya Tucker went top 5 country. But more important than that, he gives his audience an out of body concert experience.

The son of a railroad switchman and a beautician, McClinton has risen to the kind of iconic respect few roadhouse rockers ever see. Songs like “Giving It Up for Your Love” and his cover of Otis Redding’s “Dreams to Remember” transcend genres like R&B, country and rock. They become his in the same way that Ray Charles puts his imprint on numbers like “What’d I Say.” Nobody ever asks who wrote “What’d I Say.” Nor do they worry about whether it’s blues, jazz or R&B.

He told music journalist Don Wilcock, “When you get it right, for a few minutes you have your hand on the pulse of this invisible thing. If you can get that six minutes out of two hours (you’re on stage), it’s all worthwhile. It keeps you coming back if nothing else because you can’t get it anywhere else. And I want it all the time.”

Thursday, October 10th

Big George Brock

12:00pm to 12:55pm

He told blues journalist Don Wilcock he saw Muddy Waters dive into the Mississippi the day he broke away from the plantation. One of his albums Heavyweight is aptly named. Big George once sparred with boxer Sonny Liston who hit him so hard he can still feel the headache today. And when England’s Blues & Rhythm magazine called him “the real deal,” it wasn’t hyperbole. And when Buddy Guy says he’s the last of the old guard, he’s forgetting Big George Brock.

Marcus “Mookie” Cartwright

12:00pm to 12:55pm

Blues renaissance man Roger Stolle describes the Arkansas bluesman as “an impassioned guitarist and singer. He is also one of a small-but-mighty group of young African-American blues players keeping the music alive in the land where it was born. Cartwright told Living Blues, “My momma made sure I finished high school, but when the money started coming in I started playing professionally at age 14 and I kept going with it. Somehow everybody likes me. I don’t know why.”

SBBS IBC Bands Winner (band) - Fonky Donkey

12:00pm to 12:50pm

Altered Five Blues Band

1:10pm to 2:10pm

Both guitarist Jeff Schroedl and vocalist Jeff Taylor laugh at that image. Their band, The Altered Five, creates hard driving electric blues that pays homage to the music’s colorful past while referencing contemporary life. It’s a balancing act. Taylor’s day job is Principal of a school in Wisconsin.  Schroedl’s day job is being executive vice president of Hal Leonard Corporation, the world’s largest creator of music publications and music education materials. Schroedl writes most of the lyrics and Taylor is credited with co-writing the songs sometimes along with the rest of the band. He has a rich baritone voice brimming with bragadocio in the tradition of Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley and can pull off lines about being a wanted man with a double-barreled chest and a ring tattoo who is “Charmed and Dangerous” and wants to be “your bad boy.” Schroedl’s guitar has a B.B. King tone, is a bit busier than Luther Allison, but nicely propels the songs.

Cedric Burnside Band

1:10pm to 2:15pm

Noted music journalist Ted Drozdowski called him “The Lion of Mississippi Hill Country guitar.” The grandson of Hill Country patriarch R. L. Burnside, his album Benton County Relic was nominated for this year’s Best Traditional Blues Grammy, and he took home a Blues Music Award for best drummer four years in a row. Often mentioned in the same breath as The North Mississippi Allstars with whom he’s played, he is bringing the hill country sound into a contemporary context.

Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, Bob Margolin & Bob Stroger

1:10pm to 2:15pm

This act is as close as we’ll ever get to capturing the treasure of a Muddy Waters performance in Muddy’s heyday. Bob on lead guitar, Kenny on drums and Bob on bass each has an up close and intimate tie to the heritage of Muddy Waters’ Chicago blues royalty extending back to the ’50s and ’60s. Each walks the tightrope between that electric legacy sound that changed American popular music for the next 60 years and today’s contemporary blues. Living history performed with consummate style.

Greg Martinez

2:30pm to 3:40pm

Gregg “Mac Daddy” Martinez—is Louisiana’s premier Blues/R&B/Swamp Pop artist and a member of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. His blend of blues, R&B and swamp pop music he describes as “bayou blues and Creole soul.” Gregg was born and raised and still lives in the Cajun country of south Louisiana.

Sterling Billingsley Band

2:35pm to 3:40pm

A Helena, Arkansas native, Sterling was born into the blues, is a walking encyclopedia of the genre, and a talented guitarist who loves to showcase others in his band. He also happens to be President of The Sonny Boy Blues Society and Music Chairman of The King Biscuit Blues Festival. He does not consider it hyperbole when he calls the Biscuit The Holy Grail of blues festivals.

The Cate Brothers

2:35pm to 3:40pm

Beloved Arkansas natives, these twin brothers have careers that thread through involvement with Ronnie Hawkins, Levon Helm, and The Band since the late ’50s. Their self-titled debut album in 1976 was produced by 2018’s Biscuit headliner Steve Cropper, Levon Helm, and yielded their biggest hit “Union Man.” Fiercely independent, and keepers of hickory-stoked sound that defines The Band and Arkansas. They are frequent Biscuit performers.

Andy T with Alabama Mike

4:00pm to 5:10pm

Andy Talamantez spent 23 years in the aerospace industry before becoming a fulltime blues guitarist, first with Nick Nixon, a veteran Nashville blues singer whose background included jamming with a young Jimi Hendrix. When Nixon retired in 2016, Andy T. teamed with Alabama Mike releasing his fourth album Double Strike co-produced with Anson Funderburgh, the only artist to have appeared at all the King Biscuit Blues Festivals. Both Nixon and Alabama Mike handled vocals reminiscent of Sam Myers, Funderburgh’s late vocalist. Andy T.’s early influence was Eric Clapton, but he honed his style playing with Smokey Wilson and Guitar Shorty in the late ’90s.

Chris O’Leary Band

4:00pm to 5:10pm

Chris was singer and front man for Levon Helm’s Barnburners for six years. His latest album 7 Minutes Late is getting airplay on Sirius/XM. He’s recorded with Hubert Sumlin and appeared on stage with James Cotton, the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Dan Akroyd. He’s a hoot!

Reba Russell

4:00pm to 5:10pm

Reba’s “Heaven Came to Helena” has become the festival’s unofficial signature song. Reba was Memphis’ top rocker until Rufus Thomas heard her in a cover band in 1992 and told her, ‘Ya got it! You use it! Do it!’ She’s done background vocals for John Nemeth, Tracy Nelson, Huey Lewis & The News, Jimmy Thackery, and Jim Dickinson. That’s Reba on background vocals for U2 and B.B. King on “When Love Comes to Town” on Rattle & Hum recorded in 1990 at Sun Studios. But it’s the Biscuit that puts the fire in her belly. “Being here made me realize that there’s a lot more to this music stuff than I ever expected, and everybody that plays here can kick ass. So, it was like, yeah, I’m doing this come hell or high water. I don’t care, but until I kinda gave myself over to (realizing) Delta roots music was what was moving me, I was just peddling till then. Memphis is blues, but King Biscuit is the freaking deal. This is it. It’s like are you kidding me?”

Kirk Fletcher

5:30pm to 6:35pm

A four-time Blues Music Award nominee, guitarist singer and songwriter Fletcher spent three years with the Fabulous Thunderbirds, played on Kim Wilson’s Grammy-nominated Smokin’ Joint live LP. In 2018, Fletcher recorded a video with Josh Smith and Joe Bonamassa, performing the Albert King track “Crosscut Saw.” Released in October, his third solo LP, Hold On, entered at number 15 in the Billboard Blues Albums chart and has been nominated for a Blues Music Award in the Contemporary Blues Album category.

Zac Harmon Band

5:30pm to 6:40pm

Zac wowed the Biscuit in 2015 with his energetic take on Chicago blues.  He’s the son of Mississippi’s first African American pharmacist who counted Muddy Waters among his customers. Zac Harmon is a Renaissance man. He toured with B. B. King, and took voice lessons from Sam Myers. A Singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer, he’s written songs for artists as disparate as Evelyn “Champagne” King, Freddie Jackson, The Whispers, K-Ci & Jo Jo, and The O’Jays and was a staff writer for Michael Jackson’s publishing company. He’s working on his sixth blues album, co-writing songs with John Hahn, Shemekia Copeland’s manger and principle songwriter.

Anson Funderburg & The Rockets

5:35pm to 6:45pm

There’s a yin and a yang to Anson Funerburgh. His electric guitar burns with Texas fire that Guitar Player Magazine compared to Otis Rush and Magic Sam. But his guitar can also soothe as the subtle support for Delta blues vocalists who have included Sam Myers, Nick Nixon, and Alabama Mike. Anson has that Austin strut, but his Delta creds are highlighted by being the only artist to have played all of Arkansas’ King Biscuit Blues Festivals.

Michael Burks Memorial Jam

6:00pm to TBD

Larry McCray

6:55pm to 8:10pm

He’s fire and ice. He may have learned the fire working on the Detroit assembly line, but the ice came from sitting outside the church in Arkansas listening to Sunday gospel. He never went inside. And the fire usually wins out. He’s a blues artist, but he could win a cutting contest with just about any rocker on the arena circuit today. And if you don’t believe me ask Derek Trucks and Dickie Betts of the Allman Brothers, Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo or Jimmy Herring of the Aquarium Rescue Unit and the Grateful Dead. All of them appear on McCray’s 2015 album the Gibson Sessions. That album features numbers by The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Seger, and Joe Cocker. Detroit rock certainly has fired McCray’s guitarist’s muse, but his voice is Arkansas born. “That’s the Bible Belt,” he told blues journalist Don Wilcock. “We lived on the corner from a sanctified church, and we would set out on Sunday, me and my brothers, and listen to the gospel music coming out of the church on the corner. And it was quite impressive.” But they never went inside. “By that time, I had my horns coming out. But you know, I’m a pretty moral person. I don’t go to church all the time because I believe church is in your heart.”

Billy Branch & The Sons of Blues

7:00pm to 8:10pm

Billy Branch is a true Chicago blues legacy. He played harmonica with Willie Dixon for six years and has played on more than 150 different recordings with Johnny Winer, Koko Taylor and Taj Mahal.  He was one of the first to develop a blues in the schools program and has made over 70 international tours. A three-time Grammy nominee, he’s backed by The Sons of The Blues, a band of veterans that includes: bass player Nick Charles (Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King, Tina Turner, Eddie Shaw, Valerie Wellington and the Rolling Stones), drummer Mose Rutues Jr. with the band 25 years, and pianist Sumito Ariyoshi, aka Ariyo (Otis Rush, Jimmy Rogers, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Eddie Shaw.)

Paul Thorn

7:10pm to 8:20pm

Paul Thorn all but stole the show from B.B. King at King Biscuit in 2010. His 2018 album, Don’t Let The Devil Ride debuted in the Billboard Top 100 the first week of release.  Thorn calls the music on the album dance pole gospel: “If you listen to the music that’s really sexy sounding, it sounds exactly like the music we sang in church when I was growing up. When we’d go visit the black churches, it was raunchy, man. It was spiritual, but it almost had a sexual undertone to it, and that’s what you hear on some of these songs on this record.”  “Every time I play a festival, I don’t want the last slot. You get more people to see you when you go on next to last ’cause when you go on last, they’re gonna be leavin’ on your last song which is a bummer. When you’re playing that last song, and you’re the headliner, you’re watching people walk out as you’re singing. That’s a bummer, man!”

Ruthie Foster (HEADLINER)

8:30pm to TBD

“I’m not just singing the blues, I singing my own story,” says three-time blues GRAMMY nominee Ruthie Foster. And what a story she has to tell. She’s honed her style playing with everyone from The North Mississippi Allstars to The Blind Boys of Alabama, from Warren Haynes to The Funky Meters. She’s just been nominated the Blues Foundation’s Koko Taylor Award for Best Traditional Blues Female Artist of The Year and in February was inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame. The AllMusic Guide compares her to Aretha Franklin and Ella Fitzgerald “with a wide palette of American song forms — gospel and blues to jazz, folk, and soul — and her live performances are powerfully transfiguring.” Rolling Stone says she’s “pure magic to watch and hear.” When she played the Biscuit in 2015, she said it felt like home. It’s very warm. It feels like I’m with my people.” Come home again with Ruthie. “It’s my story as a woman that’s grown up with gospel music. It’s really all these different types of genres being raised in Texas.  I look at music as in the beginning it really was a way of kind of a healing for me in a lotta ways.”

Kenny Wayne Shepherd (HEADLINER)

8:40pm to TBD

With eight number one blues albums and a string of number one rock singles, Saturday night headliner Kenny Wayne Shepherd is arguably the most successful blues/rock crossover act since Stevie Ray Vaughan. “It’s been my approach to take blues from the foundation and try to take it elsewhere,” says Shepherd, “because you don’t have rock without blues.” His tenth album, Lay It on Down, debuted at number one on the blues charts. He released his first at age 16, making him a 26-year veteran at age 41. Guitar World called the release “a king-size helping of Shepherd’s trademark roots-rocking fireworks.”

Delbert McClinton (HEADLINER)

8:45pm to TBD

More than half a century into his career, Friday night headliner Delbert McClinton is a transformative live performer. He’s earned two Grammys in the blues category; He taught John Lennon how to play harp; He duets with Bonnie Raitt on “Good Man, Good Woman” which won a Grammy in Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group. “Giving It Up for Your Love” was number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 35 Adult Contemporary. His duet with Tanya Tucker went top 5 country. But more important than that, he gives his audience an out of body concert experience.

The son of a railroad switchman and a beautician, McClinton has risen to the kind of iconic respect few roadhouse rockers ever see. Songs like “Giving It Up for Your Love” and his cover of Otis Redding’s “Dreams to Remember” transcend genres like R&B, country and rock. They become his in the same way that Ray Charles puts his imprint on numbers like “What’d I Say.” Nobody ever asks who wrote “What’d I Say.” Nor do they worry about whether it’s blues, jazz or R&B.

He told music journalist Don Wilcock, “When you get it right, for a few minutes you have your hand on the pulse of this invisible thing. If you can get that six minutes out of two hours (you’re on stage), it’s all worthwhile. It keeps you coming back if nothing else because you can’t get it anywhere else. And I want it all the time.”

Friday, October 11th

Big George Brock

12:00pm to 12:55pm

He told blues journalist Don Wilcock he saw Muddy Waters dive into the Mississippi the day he broke away from the plantation. One of his albums Heavyweight is aptly named. Big George once sparred with boxer Sonny Liston who hit him so hard he can still feel the headache today. And when England’s Blues & Rhythm magazine called him “the real deal,” it wasn’t hyperbole. And when Buddy Guy says he’s the last of the old guard, he’s forgetting Big George Brock.

Marcus “Mookie” Cartwright

12:00pm to 12:55pm

Blues renaissance man Roger Stolle describes the Arkansas bluesman as “an impassioned guitarist and singer. He is also one of a small-but-mighty group of young African-American blues players keeping the music alive in the land where it was born. Cartwright told Living Blues, “My momma made sure I finished high school, but when the money started coming in I started playing professionally at age 14 and I kept going with it. Somehow everybody likes me. I don’t know why.”

SBBS IBC Bands Winner (band) - Fonky Donkey

12:00pm to 12:50pm

Altered Five Blues Band

1:10pm to 2:10pm

Both guitarist Jeff Schroedl and vocalist Jeff Taylor laugh at that image. Their band, The Altered Five, creates hard driving electric blues that pays homage to the music’s colorful past while referencing contemporary life. It’s a balancing act. Taylor’s day job is Principal of a school in Wisconsin.  Schroedl’s day job is being executive vice president of Hal Leonard Corporation, the world’s largest creator of music publications and music education materials. Schroedl writes most of the lyrics and Taylor is credited with co-writing the songs sometimes along with the rest of the band. He has a rich baritone voice brimming with bragadocio in the tradition of Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley and can pull off lines about being a wanted man with a double-barreled chest and a ring tattoo who is “Charmed and Dangerous” and wants to be “your bad boy.” Schroedl’s guitar has a B.B. King tone, is a bit busier than Luther Allison, but nicely propels the songs.

Cedric Burnside Band

1:10pm to 2:15pm

Noted music journalist Ted Drozdowski called him “The Lion of Mississippi Hill Country guitar.” The grandson of Hill Country patriarch R. L. Burnside, his album Benton County Relic was nominated for this year’s Best Traditional Blues Grammy, and he took home a Blues Music Award for best drummer four years in a row. Often mentioned in the same breath as The North Mississippi Allstars with whom he’s played, he is bringing the hill country sound into a contemporary context.

Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, Bob Margolin & Bob Stroger

1:10pm to 2:15pm

This act is as close as we’ll ever get to capturing the treasure of a Muddy Waters performance in Muddy’s heyday. Bob on lead guitar, Kenny on drums and Bob on bass each has an up close and intimate tie to the heritage of Muddy Waters’ Chicago blues royalty extending back to the ’50s and ’60s. Each walks the tightrope between that electric legacy sound that changed American popular music for the next 60 years and today’s contemporary blues. Living history performed with consummate style.

Greg Martinez

2:30pm to 3:40pm

Gregg “Mac Daddy” Martinez—is Louisiana’s premier Blues/R&B/Swamp Pop artist and a member of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. His blend of blues, R&B and swamp pop music he describes as “bayou blues and Creole soul.” Gregg was born and raised and still lives in the Cajun country of south Louisiana.

Sterling Billingsley Band

2:35pm to 3:40pm

A Helena, Arkansas native, Sterling was born into the blues, is a walking encyclopedia of the genre, and a talented guitarist who loves to showcase others in his band. He also happens to be President of The Sonny Boy Blues Society and Music Chairman of The King Biscuit Blues Festival. He does not consider it hyperbole when he calls the Biscuit The Holy Grail of blues festivals.

The Cate Brothers

2:35pm to 3:40pm

Beloved Arkansas natives, these twin brothers have careers that thread through involvement with Ronnie Hawkins, Levon Helm, and The Band since the late ’50s. Their self-titled debut album in 1976 was produced by 2018’s Biscuit headliner Steve Cropper, Levon Helm, and yielded their biggest hit “Union Man.” Fiercely independent, and keepers of hickory-stoked sound that defines The Band and Arkansas. They are frequent Biscuit performers.

Andy T with Alabama Mike

4:00pm to 5:10pm

Andy Talamantez spent 23 years in the aerospace industry before becoming a fulltime blues guitarist, first with Nick Nixon, a veteran Nashville blues singer whose background included jamming with a young Jimi Hendrix. When Nixon retired in 2016, Andy T. teamed with Alabama Mike releasing his fourth album Double Strike co-produced with Anson Funderburgh, the only artist to have appeared at all the King Biscuit Blues Festivals. Both Nixon and Alabama Mike handled vocals reminiscent of Sam Myers, Funderburgh’s late vocalist. Andy T.’s early influence was Eric Clapton, but he honed his style playing with Smokey Wilson and Guitar Shorty in the late ’90s.

Chris O’Leary Band

4:00pm to 5:10pm

Chris was singer and front man for Levon Helm’s Barnburners for six years. His latest album 7 Minutes Late is getting airplay on Sirius/XM. He’s recorded with Hubert Sumlin and appeared on stage with James Cotton, the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Dan Akroyd. He’s a hoot!

Reba Russell

4:00pm to 5:10pm

Reba’s “Heaven Came to Helena” has become the festival’s unofficial signature song. Reba was Memphis’ top rocker until Rufus Thomas heard her in a cover band in 1992 and told her, ‘Ya got it! You use it! Do it!’ She’s done background vocals for John Nemeth, Tracy Nelson, Huey Lewis & The News, Jimmy Thackery, and Jim Dickinson. That’s Reba on background vocals for U2 and B.B. King on “When Love Comes to Town” on Rattle & Hum recorded in 1990 at Sun Studios. But it’s the Biscuit that puts the fire in her belly. “Being here made me realize that there’s a lot more to this music stuff than I ever expected, and everybody that plays here can kick ass. So, it was like, yeah, I’m doing this come hell or high water. I don’t care, but until I kinda gave myself over to (realizing) Delta roots music was what was moving me, I was just peddling till then. Memphis is blues, but King Biscuit is the freaking deal. This is it. It’s like are you kidding me?”

Kirk Fletcher

5:30pm to 6:35pm

A four-time Blues Music Award nominee, guitarist singer and songwriter Fletcher spent three years with the Fabulous Thunderbirds, played on Kim Wilson’s Grammy-nominated Smokin’ Joint live LP. In 2018, Fletcher recorded a video with Josh Smith and Joe Bonamassa, performing the Albert King track “Crosscut Saw.” Released in October, his third solo LP, Hold On, entered at number 15 in the Billboard Blues Albums chart and has been nominated for a Blues Music Award in the Contemporary Blues Album category.

Zac Harmon Band

5:30pm to 6:40pm

Zac wowed the Biscuit in 2015 with his energetic take on Chicago blues.  He’s the son of Mississippi’s first African American pharmacist who counted Muddy Waters among his customers. Zac Harmon is a Renaissance man. He toured with B. B. King, and took voice lessons from Sam Myers. A Singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer, he’s written songs for artists as disparate as Evelyn “Champagne” King, Freddie Jackson, The Whispers, K-Ci & Jo Jo, and The O’Jays and was a staff writer for Michael Jackson’s publishing company. He’s working on his sixth blues album, co-writing songs with John Hahn, Shemekia Copeland’s manger and principle songwriter.

Anson Funderburg & The Rockets

5:35pm to 6:45pm

There’s a yin and a yang to Anson Funerburgh. His electric guitar burns with Texas fire that Guitar Player Magazine compared to Otis Rush and Magic Sam. But his guitar can also soothe as the subtle support for Delta blues vocalists who have included Sam Myers, Nick Nixon, and Alabama Mike. Anson has that Austin strut, but his Delta creds are highlighted by being the only artist to have played all of Arkansas’ King Biscuit Blues Festivals.

Michael Burks Memorial Jam

6:00pm to TBD

Larry McCray

6:55pm to 8:10pm

He’s fire and ice. He may have learned the fire working on the Detroit assembly line, but the ice came from sitting outside the church in Arkansas listening to Sunday gospel. He never went inside. And the fire usually wins out. He’s a blues artist, but he could win a cutting contest with just about any rocker on the arena circuit today. And if you don’t believe me ask Derek Trucks and Dickie Betts of the Allman Brothers, Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo or Jimmy Herring of the Aquarium Rescue Unit and the Grateful Dead. All of them appear on McCray’s 2015 album the Gibson Sessions. That album features numbers by The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Seger, and Joe Cocker. Detroit rock certainly has fired McCray’s guitarist’s muse, but his voice is Arkansas born. “That’s the Bible Belt,” he told blues journalist Don Wilcock. “We lived on the corner from a sanctified church, and we would set out on Sunday, me and my brothers, and listen to the gospel music coming out of the church on the corner. And it was quite impressive.” But they never went inside. “By that time, I had my horns coming out. But you know, I’m a pretty moral person. I don’t go to church all the time because I believe church is in your heart.”

Billy Branch & The Sons of Blues

7:00pm to 8:10pm

Billy Branch is a true Chicago blues legacy. He played harmonica with Willie Dixon for six years and has played on more than 150 different recordings with Johnny Winer, Koko Taylor and Taj Mahal.  He was one of the first to develop a blues in the schools program and has made over 70 international tours. A three-time Grammy nominee, he’s backed by The Sons of The Blues, a band of veterans that includes: bass player Nick Charles (Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King, Tina Turner, Eddie Shaw, Valerie Wellington and the Rolling Stones), drummer Mose Rutues Jr. with the band 25 years, and pianist Sumito Ariyoshi, aka Ariyo (Otis Rush, Jimmy Rogers, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Eddie Shaw.)

Paul Thorn

7:10pm to 8:20pm

Paul Thorn all but stole the show from B.B. King at King Biscuit in 2010. His 2018 album, Don’t Let The Devil Ride debuted in the Billboard Top 100 the first week of release.  Thorn calls the music on the album dance pole gospel: “If you listen to the music that’s really sexy sounding, it sounds exactly like the music we sang in church when I was growing up. When we’d go visit the black churches, it was raunchy, man. It was spiritual, but it almost had a sexual undertone to it, and that’s what you hear on some of these songs on this record.”  “Every time I play a festival, I don’t want the last slot. You get more people to see you when you go on next to last ’cause when you go on last, they’re gonna be leavin’ on your last song which is a bummer. When you’re playing that last song, and you’re the headliner, you’re watching people walk out as you’re singing. That’s a bummer, man!”

Ruthie Foster (HEADLINER)

8:30pm to TBD

“I’m not just singing the blues, I singing my own story,” says three-time blues GRAMMY nominee Ruthie Foster. And what a story she has to tell. She’s honed her style playing with everyone from The North Mississippi Allstars to The Blind Boys of Alabama, from Warren Haynes to The Funky Meters. She’s just been nominated the Blues Foundation’s Koko Taylor Award for Best Traditional Blues Female Artist of The Year and in February was inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame. The AllMusic Guide compares her to Aretha Franklin and Ella Fitzgerald “with a wide palette of American song forms — gospel and blues to jazz, folk, and soul — and her live performances are powerfully transfiguring.” Rolling Stone says she’s “pure magic to watch and hear.” When she played the Biscuit in 2015, she said it felt like home. It’s very warm. It feels like I’m with my people.” Come home again with Ruthie. “It’s my story as a woman that’s grown up with gospel music. It’s really all these different types of genres being raised in Texas.  I look at music as in the beginning it really was a way of kind of a healing for me in a lotta ways.”

Kenny Wayne Shepherd (HEADLINER)

8:40pm to TBD

With eight number one blues albums and a string of number one rock singles, Saturday night headliner Kenny Wayne Shepherd is arguably the most successful blues/rock crossover act since Stevie Ray Vaughan. “It’s been my approach to take blues from the foundation and try to take it elsewhere,” says Shepherd, “because you don’t have rock without blues.” His tenth album, Lay It on Down, debuted at number one on the blues charts. He released his first at age 16, making him a 26-year veteran at age 41. Guitar World called the release “a king-size helping of Shepherd’s trademark roots-rocking fireworks.”

Delbert McClinton (HEADLINER)

8:45pm to TBD

More than half a century into his career, Friday night headliner Delbert McClinton is a transformative live performer. He’s earned two Grammys in the blues category; He taught John Lennon how to play harp; He duets with Bonnie Raitt on “Good Man, Good Woman” which won a Grammy in Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group. “Giving It Up for Your Love” was number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 35 Adult Contemporary. His duet with Tanya Tucker went top 5 country. But more important than that, he gives his audience an out of body concert experience.

The son of a railroad switchman and a beautician, McClinton has risen to the kind of iconic respect few roadhouse rockers ever see. Songs like “Giving It Up for Your Love” and his cover of Otis Redding’s “Dreams to Remember” transcend genres like R&B, country and rock. They become his in the same way that Ray Charles puts his imprint on numbers like “What’d I Say.” Nobody ever asks who wrote “What’d I Say.” Nor do they worry about whether it’s blues, jazz or R&B.

He told music journalist Don Wilcock, “When you get it right, for a few minutes you have your hand on the pulse of this invisible thing. If you can get that six minutes out of two hours (you’re on stage), it’s all worthwhile. It keeps you coming back if nothing else because you can’t get it anywhere else. And I want it all the time.”

Saturday, October 12th

Big George Brock

12:00pm to 12:55pm

He told blues journalist Don Wilcock he saw Muddy Waters dive into the Mississippi the day he broke away from the plantation. One of his albums Heavyweight is aptly named. Big George once sparred with boxer Sonny Liston who hit him so hard he can still feel the headache today. And when England’s Blues & Rhythm magazine called him “the real deal,” it wasn’t hyperbole. And when Buddy Guy says he’s the last of the old guard, he’s forgetting Big George Brock.

Marcus “Mookie” Cartwright

12:00pm to 12:55pm

Blues renaissance man Roger Stolle describes the Arkansas bluesman as “an impassioned guitarist and singer. He is also one of a small-but-mighty group of young African-American blues players keeping the music alive in the land where it was born. Cartwright told Living Blues, “My momma made sure I finished high school, but when the money started coming in I started playing professionally at age 14 and I kept going with it. Somehow everybody likes me. I don’t know why.”

SBBS IBC Bands Winner (band) - Fonky Donkey

12:00pm to 12:50pm

Altered Five Blues Band

1:10pm to 2:10pm

Both guitarist Jeff Schroedl and vocalist Jeff Taylor laugh at that image. Their band, The Altered Five, creates hard driving electric blues that pays homage to the music’s colorful past while referencing contemporary life. It’s a balancing act. Taylor’s day job is Principal of a school in Wisconsin.  Schroedl’s day job is being executive vice president of Hal Leonard Corporation, the world’s largest creator of music publications and music education materials. Schroedl writes most of the lyrics and Taylor is credited with co-writing the songs sometimes along with the rest of the band. He has a rich baritone voice brimming with bragadocio in the tradition of Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley and can pull off lines about being a wanted man with a double-barreled chest and a ring tattoo who is “Charmed and Dangerous” and wants to be “your bad boy.” Schroedl’s guitar has a B.B. King tone, is a bit busier than Luther Allison, but nicely propels the songs.

Cedric Burnside Band

1:10pm to 2:15pm

Noted music journalist Ted Drozdowski called him “The Lion of Mississippi Hill Country guitar.” The grandson of Hill Country patriarch R. L. Burnside, his album Benton County Relic was nominated for this year’s Best Traditional Blues Grammy, and he took home a Blues Music Award for best drummer four years in a row. Often mentioned in the same breath as The North Mississippi Allstars with whom he’s played, he is bringing the hill country sound into a contemporary context.

Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, Bob Margolin & Bob Stroger

1:10pm to 2:15pm

This act is as close as we’ll ever get to capturing the treasure of a Muddy Waters performance in Muddy’s heyday. Bob on lead guitar, Kenny on drums and Bob on bass each has an up close and intimate tie to the heritage of Muddy Waters’ Chicago blues royalty extending back to the ’50s and ’60s. Each walks the tightrope between that electric legacy sound that changed American popular music for the next 60 years and today’s contemporary blues. Living history performed with consummate style.

Greg Martinez

2:30pm to 3:40pm

Gregg “Mac Daddy” Martinez—is Louisiana’s premier Blues/R&B/Swamp Pop artist and a member of the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. His blend of blues, R&B and swamp pop music he describes as “bayou blues and Creole soul.” Gregg was born and raised and still lives in the Cajun country of south Louisiana.

Sterling Billingsley Band

2:35pm to 3:40pm

A Helena, Arkansas native, Sterling was born into the blues, is a walking encyclopedia of the genre, and a talented guitarist who loves to showcase others in his band. He also happens to be President of The Sonny Boy Blues Society and Music Chairman of The King Biscuit Blues Festival. He does not consider it hyperbole when he calls the Biscuit The Holy Grail of blues festivals.

The Cate Brothers

2:35pm to 3:40pm

Beloved Arkansas natives, these twin brothers have careers that thread through involvement with Ronnie Hawkins, Levon Helm, and The Band since the late ’50s. Their self-titled debut album in 1976 was produced by 2018’s Biscuit headliner Steve Cropper, Levon Helm, and yielded their biggest hit “Union Man.” Fiercely independent, and keepers of hickory-stoked sound that defines The Band and Arkansas. They are frequent Biscuit performers.

Andy T with Alabama Mike

4:00pm to 5:10pm

Andy Talamantez spent 23 years in the aerospace industry before becoming a fulltime blues guitarist, first with Nick Nixon, a veteran Nashville blues singer whose background included jamming with a young Jimi Hendrix. When Nixon retired in 2016, Andy T. teamed with Alabama Mike releasing his fourth album Double Strike co-produced with Anson Funderburgh, the only artist to have appeared at all the King Biscuit Blues Festivals. Both Nixon and Alabama Mike handled vocals reminiscent of Sam Myers, Funderburgh’s late vocalist. Andy T.’s early influence was Eric Clapton, but he honed his style playing with Smokey Wilson and Guitar Shorty in the late ’90s.

Chris O’Leary Band

4:00pm to 5:10pm

Chris was singer and front man for Levon Helm’s Barnburners for six years. His latest album 7 Minutes Late is getting airplay on Sirius/XM. He’s recorded with Hubert Sumlin and appeared on stage with James Cotton, the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Dan Akroyd. He’s a hoot!

Reba Russell

4:00pm to 5:10pm

Reba’s “Heaven Came to Helena” has become the festival’s unofficial signature song. Reba was Memphis’ top rocker until Rufus Thomas heard her in a cover band in 1992 and told her, ‘Ya got it! You use it! Do it!’ She’s done background vocals for John Nemeth, Tracy Nelson, Huey Lewis & The News, Jimmy Thackery, and Jim Dickinson. That’s Reba on background vocals for U2 and B.B. King on “When Love Comes to Town” on Rattle & Hum recorded in 1990 at Sun Studios. But it’s the Biscuit that puts the fire in her belly. “Being here made me realize that there’s a lot more to this music stuff than I ever expected, and everybody that plays here can kick ass. So, it was like, yeah, I’m doing this come hell or high water. I don’t care, but until I kinda gave myself over to (realizing) Delta roots music was what was moving me, I was just peddling till then. Memphis is blues, but King Biscuit is the freaking deal. This is it. It’s like are you kidding me?”

Kirk Fletcher

5:30pm to 6:35pm

A four-time Blues Music Award nominee, guitarist singer and songwriter Fletcher spent three years with the Fabulous Thunderbirds, played on Kim Wilson’s Grammy-nominated Smokin’ Joint live LP. In 2018, Fletcher recorded a video with Josh Smith and Joe Bonamassa, performing the Albert King track “Crosscut Saw.” Released in October, his third solo LP, Hold On, entered at number 15 in the Billboard Blues Albums chart and has been nominated for a Blues Music Award in the Contemporary Blues Album category.

Zac Harmon Band

5:30pm to 6:40pm

Zac wowed the Biscuit in 2015 with his energetic take on Chicago blues.  He’s the son of Mississippi’s first African American pharmacist who counted Muddy Waters among his customers. Zac Harmon is a Renaissance man. He toured with B. B. King, and took voice lessons from Sam Myers. A Singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer, he’s written songs for artists as disparate as Evelyn “Champagne” King, Freddie Jackson, The Whispers, K-Ci & Jo Jo, and The O’Jays and was a staff writer for Michael Jackson’s publishing company. He’s working on his sixth blues album, co-writing songs with John Hahn, Shemekia Copeland’s manger and principle songwriter.

Anson Funderburg & The Rockets

5:35pm to 6:45pm

There’s a yin and a yang to Anson Funerburgh. His electric guitar burns with Texas fire that Guitar Player Magazine compared to Otis Rush and Magic Sam. But his guitar can also soothe as the subtle support for Delta blues vocalists who have included Sam Myers, Nick Nixon, and Alabama Mike. Anson has that Austin strut, but his Delta creds are highlighted by being the only artist to have played all of Arkansas’ King Biscuit Blues Festivals.

Michael Burks Memorial Jam

6:00pm to TBD

Larry McCray

6:55pm to 8:10pm

He’s fire and ice. He may have learned the fire working on the Detroit assembly line, but the ice came from sitting outside the church in Arkansas listening to Sunday gospel. He never went inside. And the fire usually wins out. He’s a blues artist, but he could win a cutting contest with just about any rocker on the arena circuit today. And if you don’t believe me ask Derek Trucks and Dickie Betts of the Allman Brothers, Los Lobos’ David Hidalgo or Jimmy Herring of the Aquarium Rescue Unit and the Grateful Dead. All of them appear on McCray’s 2015 album the Gibson Sessions. That album features numbers by The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Seger, and Joe Cocker. Detroit rock certainly has fired McCray’s guitarist’s muse, but his voice is Arkansas born. “That’s the Bible Belt,” he told blues journalist Don Wilcock. “We lived on the corner from a sanctified church, and we would set out on Sunday, me and my brothers, and listen to the gospel music coming out of the church on the corner. And it was quite impressive.” But they never went inside. “By that time, I had my horns coming out. But you know, I’m a pretty moral person. I don’t go to church all the time because I believe church is in your heart.”

Billy Branch & The Sons of Blues

7:00pm to 8:10pm

Billy Branch is a true Chicago blues legacy. He played harmonica with Willie Dixon for six years and has played on more than 150 different recordings with Johnny Winer, Koko Taylor and Taj Mahal.  He was one of the first to develop a blues in the schools program and has made over 70 international tours. A three-time Grammy nominee, he’s backed by The Sons of The Blues, a band of veterans that includes: bass player Nick Charles (Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King, Tina Turner, Eddie Shaw, Valerie Wellington and the Rolling Stones), drummer Mose Rutues Jr. with the band 25 years, and pianist Sumito Ariyoshi, aka Ariyo (Otis Rush, Jimmy Rogers, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Eddie Shaw.)

Paul Thorn

7:10pm to 8:20pm

Paul Thorn all but stole the show from B.B. King at King Biscuit in 2010. His 2018 album, Don’t Let The Devil Ride debuted in the Billboard Top 100 the first week of release.  Thorn calls the music on the album dance pole gospel: “If you listen to the music that’s really sexy sounding, it sounds exactly like the music we sang in church when I was growing up. When we’d go visit the black churches, it was raunchy, man. It was spiritual, but it almost had a sexual undertone to it, and that’s what you hear on some of these songs on this record.”  “Every time I play a festival, I don’t want the last slot. You get more people to see you when you go on next to last ’cause when you go on last, they’re gonna be leavin’ on your last song which is a bummer. When you’re playing that last song, and you’re the headliner, you’re watching people walk out as you’re singing. That’s a bummer, man!”

Ruthie Foster (HEADLINER)

8:30pm to TBD

“I’m not just singing the blues, I singing my own story,” says three-time blues GRAMMY nominee Ruthie Foster. And what a story she has to tell. She’s honed her style playing with everyone from The North Mississippi Allstars to The Blind Boys of Alabama, from Warren Haynes to The Funky Meters. She’s just been nominated the Blues Foundation’s Koko Taylor Award for Best Traditional Blues Female Artist of The Year and in February was inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame. The AllMusic Guide compares her to Aretha Franklin and Ella Fitzgerald “with a wide palette of American song forms — gospel and blues to jazz, folk, and soul — and her live performances are powerfully transfiguring.” Rolling Stone says she’s “pure magic to watch and hear.” When she played the Biscuit in 2015, she said it felt like home. It’s very warm. It feels like I’m with my people.” Come home again with Ruthie. “It’s my story as a woman that’s grown up with gospel music. It’s really all these different types of genres being raised in Texas.  I look at music as in the beginning it really was a way of kind of a healing for me in a lotta ways.”

Kenny Wayne Shepherd (HEADLINER)

8:40pm to TBD

With eight number one blues albums and a string of number one rock singles, Saturday night headliner Kenny Wayne Shepherd is arguably the most successful blues/rock crossover act since Stevie Ray Vaughan. “It’s been my approach to take blues from the foundation and try to take it elsewhere,” says Shepherd, “because you don’t have rock without blues.” His tenth album, Lay It on Down, debuted at number one on the blues charts. He released his first at age 16, making him a 26-year veteran at age 41. Guitar World called the release “a king-size helping of Shepherd’s trademark roots-rocking fireworks.”

Delbert McClinton (HEADLINER)

8:45pm to TBD

More than half a century into his career, Friday night headliner Delbert McClinton is a transformative live performer. He’s earned two Grammys in the blues category; He taught John Lennon how to play harp; He duets with Bonnie Raitt on “Good Man, Good Woman” which won a Grammy in Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group. “Giving It Up for Your Love” was number 8 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 35 Adult Contemporary. His duet with Tanya Tucker went top 5 country. But more important than that, he gives his audience an out of body concert experience.

The son of a railroad switchman and a beautician, McClinton has risen to the kind of iconic respect few roadhouse rockers ever see. Songs like “Giving It Up for Your Love” and his cover of Otis Redding’s “Dreams to Remember” transcend genres like R&B, country and rock. They become his in the same way that Ray Charles puts his imprint on numbers like “What’d I Say.” Nobody ever asks who wrote “What’d I Say.” Nor do they worry about whether it’s blues, jazz or R&B.

He told music journalist Don Wilcock, “When you get it right, for a few minutes you have your hand on the pulse of this invisible thing. If you can get that six minutes out of two hours (you’re on stage), it’s all worthwhile. It keeps you coming back if nothing else because you can’t get it anywhere else. And I want it all the time.”