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West Maryland Blues Fest 2009

Derek Trucks, Jimmy Thackery, Janiva Magness, Lil' Ed headline event

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Blues Guitarist Derek Trucks

Blues Guitarist Derek Trucks

Photo by Roger Kisby, courtesy Getty Images

The 14th annual Western Maryland Blues Fest will take place from May 28 through May 31, 2009 in Hagerstown, Maryland. The event will take place at the City Central Lot on N. Potomac Street on Friday and Saturday, and at the City Park Bandshell on Sunday.

West Maryland Blues Fest 2009 Line-Up

Since its creation in 1995, the festival has grown to become one of the premiere events on the East Coast, featuring a mix of local, regional and national musical talent. This year's Blues Fest line-up is anchored by the virtuoso guitarwork of Derek Trucks, the big band blues sound of Roomful of Blues, and the slash-and-burn houserockin' fretwork of Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers.

Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials, who recently won the Blues Music Award as "Band of the Year," will perform on Friday evening. Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers headline Friday night's line-up with their guitar-driven blues-rock sound. The band has been on the road for over a year, touring in support of their 2008 album Inside Tracks.

Saturday will add a second stage for the Blues Fest's performers, and the day's line-up will include a set from the talented Janiva Magness. Longtime blues music institution Roomful of Blues will close down one stage with an early-evening appearance, while the Derek Trucks Band will headline and close down the event with a Saturday night performance.

Other performers at this year's West Maryland Blues Fest include:

  • Bonerama
  • Willie "Big Eyes" Smith
  • The Mike Stern Band
  • Bad Influence Band
  • The Kelly Bell Band
  • Chopteeth Afrofunk Big Band

Blues Fest Headline Performers

Young guitar prodigy Derek Trucks first picked up the instrument at the age of nine, and he was soon sharing the stage with blues legends like Buddy Guy. Influenced by the style of Duane Allman - his uncle Butch Trucks is the Allman Brothers Band's longtime drummer - as well as bluesmen like Guy and Elmore James, and jazz artists like John Coltrane and Sun Ra, Derek had performed alongside talents like Bob Dylan, Joe Walsh, and Stephen Stills before he was old enough to drink.

For over three decades now, Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials have been a Chicago blues institution. Featuring the fiery slide-guitar play of frontman Lil' Ed Williams, the band has pursued its vision of good-time, houserockin' blues in spite of changing trends, thrilling audiences around the globe. Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials have spent their entire career on the Alligator Records label, the band's most recent album - 2008's Full Tilt - was nominated for a Blues Music Award. Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials were honored as the "Band of the Year" in the 30th Annual Blues Music Awards in Memphis.

Janiva Magness recently walked off with the coveted B.B. King Entertainer of the Year award from The Blues Foundation at the 30th Annual Blues Music Awards, as well as a winning second award for Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year. A powerful vocalist with a soulful sound, Magness has forged a career in the blues with hard work and no little talent. What Love Will Do is the singer's latest album, an inspired effort that masterfully blends raunchy blues with Memphis soul and a classic R&B sound.

The Nighthawks Rock The Park!

Blues-and-roots-rock faves the Nighthawks will be making a special pre-festival appearance on Thursday night, May 28th, performing at the University Plaza Park on West Washington Street in downtown Hagerstown. Admission is free, but limited, so get there early - the show begins at 5:00 PM and the gates open an hour earlier. The Nighthawks are currently on tour supporting the band's latest effort, American Landscape.

Family Blues Picnic

On Sunday, the Western Maryland Blues Fest features a free family blues picnic, held at the City Park Bandshell. The line-up for this event includes the Rhythm Kings, Jumptown, the Ruby Hayes Blues Band, and the Campbell Brothers.

Check with the West Maryland Blues Fest website for performance schedules and ticket availability.

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