Journey to the Son, our four-day celebration of blues great Son House, kicks off in just five days! In addition to the presentations, discussions, play reading, music workshops and performances by local blues musicians, the festival will feature three headline concerts by renowned blues artists John Hammond, John Mooney and Chris Thomas King. If you’re not familiar with their music, you’re definitely missing out, so let’s fix that right now!
Grammy Award-winning Blues Hall of Fame inductee John Hammond plays on Thursday night, August 27. A veteran performing artist for more than 50 years, John has played over 4,000 shows and worked with musicians including Jimi Hendrix (who was discovered while playing in John’s band), Tom Waits, Eric Clapton, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and The Band. His latest album, Timeless, won the 2014 Blues Music Award for Best Acoustic Blues Album. Videos of John performing are available on his website – here’s one of him playing Son House’s hit “Walking Blues:”
John Mooney met Son House in Rochester’s Corn Hill neighborhood as a teenager in 1971. He and Son played together until 1976, when John moved to New Orleans, where he formed the Bluesiana Band. John and his band have brought their unique style to blues and folk festivals around the world. John plays at Geva – both solo and with friends – on Friday night, August 28. His latest album, Son & Moon, is a tribute to his old friend and neighbor. You can listen to samples of each track on that album here. Here’s John performing “Country Boy Down in New Orleans” at a Son House tribute concert in Rochester in 2008:
Grammy Award winner Chris Thomas King performs Saturday night, August 29. He’s a pioneer of rap/blues fusion and has sold more than 10 million records in the U.S. A multi-talented performer, Chris writes, arranges, sings, plays all instruments on and produces most of his recordings. His latest album is Bona Fide, and you can hear three of the tracks from it on his website. Chris won a Grammy for his work on the film O Brother, Where Art Thou?, in which he plays bluesman Tommy Johnson: