Where it all began
Blues is about tradition and personal expression. At its core, the blues has remained the same since its inception. Most blues feature simple, usually three-chord, progressions and have simple structures that are open to endless improvisations, both lyrical and musical. The blues grew out of African spirituals and worksongs. In the late 1800s, southern African-Americans passed the songs down orally, and they collided with American folk and country from the Appalachians. New hybrids appeared by each region, but all of the recorded blues from the early 1900s are distinguished by simple, rural acoustic guitars and pianos. After World War II, the blues began to fragment, with some musicians holding on to acoustic traditions and others taking it to jazzier territory. However, most bluesmen followed Muddy Waters' lead and played the blues on electric instruments. From that point on, the blues continued to develop in new directions -- particularly on electric instruments -- or it has been preserved as an acoustic tradition.
AW, SNAP! THE BLUES IS BACK!
Part blues festival, part dance party, part family reunion; HCBX is proud to be celebrating it’s 10th year! And whether you’ve been joining us for years, or are new to dancing, we would love to invite YOU to our special Blues thang. We are Holy City Blues – and Blues is how we do.
COME EXPERIENCE THE BLUES!
Join us in beautiful Charleston, SC as we celebrate the joy of Blues! We are happy to bring together musicians, dancers, and friends from across the Southeast and beyond to commence a weekend of hot, fierce, soul shaken’ music!
Dr. Michael White
Dr. White joins us from New Orleans for his first HCBX, and along with his lecture, will be guest performing with Meschiya and the Little Big Horns!
Dr. Michael White is an accomplished, multi-faceted New Orleans-based clarinetist, bandleader, composer, musicologist, jazz historian, and educator widely regarded as one of the leading authorities and culture-bearers of traditional New Orleans jazz music. He has performed in over two dozen foreign countries, played on over 50 recordings, received countless awards, made multiple national television appearances, and been featured in major media publications.
Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns
Meschiya Lake and her Little Big Horns join us from New Orleans, LA. And are thrilled to welcome her back for TWO incredible nights of music and dancing! This will be their second HCBX appearance!
Having a passion for old timey jazz and blues, Meschiya Lake started the Little Big Horns in the Spring of 2009. The group works together creating their innovative yet traditional sound of both classics and originals. From Royal Street to Frenchmen Street, the band's energetic approach and heartfelt delivery has created an international following of dancers, vintage fans, music professors, and underworld villains alike.
Brother Yusef was our special guest for our second HCBX, and we are so happy to have him back in the Holy City for our TEN year anniversary!
Brother Yusef (Southern California) has been described as a master solo guitarist, as well as a uniquely passionate vocalist. His performances are as raw, honest and real as the genre has ever aspired to be. Honed over thirty years, he calls his multifaceted style, fattback blues for it’s a rich mix of Delta, Chicago and Texas blues alongside a hard driving Louisiana stomp. Fattback Blues combines "traditional" fingerpicking and slide guitar playing with the contemporary feel of urban blues, rock and funk. He uses his right hand thumb to beat out a percussive bass-line and shuffle, while the index finger plays rhythm and lead lines, creating a full band sound with a solo guitar.
Brother Yusef joins us for not only performance but lecture, sharing his knowledge and experience in the Blues!
Born in St. Louis, 28 year old Marquise Knox’s talents have earned him performing rights with B.B. King, Pinetop Perkins, David “Honeyboy” Edwards & Billy Gibbons, & have taken him all over the United States, Canada, South America & Europe.
Marquise’s 3rd album, Black and Blue, was released independently on his own record label Knox Entertainment LLC continues to answer the question “Can A Young Man Play the Blues” with a resounding YES with the songs like “One More Reason to Have the Blues” & “Blues Man”.
Eli Cook grew up on the blues: Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, the Wolf, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and Mississippi John Hurt. He first picked up the guitar when he was fourteen, and began his own performance career playing vintage blues, gospel shows, and revivals in Nelson County, Virginia when he was fifteen. (Braving the Blues, Lynchburg News and Advance, Jan. 9, 2003, by Theresa Boyd).
His first electric trio, The Red House Blues Band, was formed in 2002 while a junior at Monticello High school. Eli was called a 'blues phenomenon' by reviewers in near-by Charlottesville: "Featuring fast-fingered guitar and a powerful voice beyond his years, Cook doesn't need any Robert-Johnson-style pact with the devil to take him to the top." (Eli Cook's Red House Blues Band, by Matthew Hirst, C'ville Review, 12/10/2003)
Ernie Halter (Nashville, TN) joins us for his 2nd HCBX! Ernie was our surprise guest artist last year and quickly charmed us with the smoothest grooves you'll hear. No one spins a ballad like this talented Tennessee singer-songwriter!
Influenced by some of the legendary names of pop and soul, such as the Beatles, Elton John, Otis Redding, and Stevie Wonder, Californian Ernie Halter first began to make waves for himself with the release of his 2005 collection, Lo-Fidelity. The singer and songwriter got his start playing a small -- mostly covers -- coffeehouse gig in 1992, and was able to maintain the difficult position of being a working musician (and closet songwriter) by simply paying his dues, working on songs in his spare time, and playing in coffeehouses and smaller gigs to keep active on the scene and to sharpen his skills. Eventually, word of mouth and the Internet community on websites such as MySpace and YouTube worked in Halter's favor, and by 2007 -- and his next release, Congress Hotel (on Rock Ridge Music) -- he had built up quite a buzz, and the staunchly indie Halter could be seen touring throughout much of the United States.
Head DJ - Adam Bean
Adam’s been DJing for over a decade which means at this point he has mastered the art of hitting the play button, walking away from the DJ booth for 5 minutes to use the bathroom, and then running back in a panic to pick the next song with 5 seconds to spare.
In 2014, baby dancer Suzanne walked into HCBX 5 and had her first real experience with blues. There was no looking back as she fell in love with the music, the connection, and the way those weave together to tell a story.
Her sets are both playful and sultry, and they’re sure to keep you on the floor and shaking it til the wee hours of the morning! You might have caught one of her sets at Red Hot Blues & BBQ or Lindy Focus. She can’t wait to come back to Charleston and be a part of the exchange that first started her love of blues!
Based in Denver, CO, Callie has been dancing nonstop since February, 2015. She loves djaying locally as well as around the world as it allows her to spread her love and excitement of dance. Able to read the energy of the room, Callie plays the music that will keep you dancing all night!
Marina caught the Blues bug at her first blues event- -Holy City Blues Exchange in 2014. She carried that bug from Charleston to Memphis, then from Memphis to her new stomping grounds in St Louis. She finds inspiration from all the incredible live music she had access to. She is honored to come back to where it all began, and play the tunes to keep you movin’ n groovin’ all night long.