The 14th Annual Motor City Blues Festival featuring Bobby Rush, Calvin Richardson, Pokey Bear, Melvia “Chick” Rodgers-Williams, Sir Charles Jones, Lenny Williams and Theodis Ealey will perform at the Fox Theatre in The District Detroit on Saturday, March 14 at 7 p.m. Lineup subject to change.
Bobby Rush is a Louisiana native who earned the title “King of the Chitlin’ Circuit” after relocating to Jackson, MS in the early 1980s. His distinctive “folk funk” style makes for an upbeat and often provocative live performance. Blues audiences around the country recognize his songs such as “Big Fat Woman” and “What’s Good for the Goose Is Good for the Gander.”
North Carolina native Calvin Richardson is a gritty, gospel-minded urban contemporary/neo-soul vocalist and songwriter whose influences have ranged from Sam Cooke, Bobby Womack, Donny Hathaway and Marvin Gaye to Jodeci and K-Ci & JoJo. He has released seven studio albums to date, including his latest, All or Nothing, in 2017.
Southern bluesman Pokey Bear injects a larger-than-life swagger into his R&B-infused bayou soul. One-third of the Louisiana Blue Brothas with Tyree Neal and Adrian Bagher (the trio issued Love on the Bayou in 2014), Pokey Bear also released the solo effort Josephine Son Pokey in 2014. The album included sensual dance tracks like “The Gingerbread Man” and “Mr. Hit It and Quit It” as well as his de facto theme song, “They Call Me Pokey.” Mr. It Ain’t Fair arrived in January 2016. The album featured local dancefloor hit “Good Foot” and “Shake That Money Maker” with Mystikal.
Melvia “Chick” Rodgers-Williams, to give her full name, was born in Memphis. She began to sing in church with her father then grew musically in the `80s, becoming soloist in the group Clockwise. In 1989 she moved to Chicago, home of the blues and here her fame grew thanks to her strong soul voice. She began to be known outside the United States with tours in Europe and Japan. She performed as supporter of the great Koko Taylor and participated in many important international blues festivals. Not content with singing only blues, she began to gain familiarity with jazz repertoires and participated in important American television musicals.
Ultimate soul crooner and Oakland native Lenny Williams possesses one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary music. With his rich, passionate vocal style, he is rightfully regarded as one of R&B’s most influential soul men. Williams began his musical career making records that have become R&B and Pop classics, including “Cause I Love You” (recorded on his solo album) and “So Very Hard To Go,” which he recorded as the lead singer of Tower of Power. Williams’ style has transcended into the new millennium, influencing many of today’s most popular R&B and hip hop artists.
Theodis Ealey is hailed as a blues singer, guitarist, and bandleader. Blues fans know him by his nickname “The Bluesman Lover,” for his brassy R&B love tunes. In 1994, Ealey won the Male Vocalist Top Star Award in San Francisco, and three years later he was named the Mo’ Better Blues Male Artist of the Year in Atlanta. In 2004, Ealey released the album Stand Up in It, and the title track, a playfully raunchy bit of bedroom advice, became a surprise hit single, spending 21 weeks on the R&B/Hip-Hop chart and peaking at number one.
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