I merely took the energy it takes to pout and wrote some blues.
-Duke Ellington

Events News

News, Upcoming and Past Events from the MVBS Events Committee.

MVBS Presents Reverend Raven and the Chain-Smokin' Altar Boys, Friday, April 21

rev ravenThe Mississippi Valley Blues Society is proud to present a Midwestern-blues-fan-favorite, Reverend Raven and the Chain Smokin' Altar Boys, at Kavanaugh's Hilltop Tap, 1228 30th Street, Rock Island, IL. The show will take place on Friday, April 21, at 8:00 p.m. The cost to see this performance will be $12 if you are a Mississippi Valley Blues Society member, or $15 if you have not yet joined the Blues Society (applications will be available at the door).


"Hard-driving, passionate blues" is how Raven describes the sound of his group. "I'd like to say '50s and '60s inspired Chicago blues, and I've had bands and been in bands where we've done that, but we're really not like that. We try and present our music like what I saw back in the early '70s when I went to the clubs in Chicago to see these great blues bands. They were there to entertain you and make you have a great experience so you'd come back and drink more. So that's what we try and do."


Born and raised on south side of Chicago, the Reverend has been playing the blues since 1971 when he first saw Freddy King play at the Kinetic Theatre in Chicago. After a 15 year hitch in the Navy, he moved to Milwaukee where he began a long friendship and collaboration with Madison Slim, long time harmonica player for Jimmy Rogers. Since 1990 he has opened for B.B King, Gatemouth Brown, Pinetop Perkins, Koko Taylor Band, Junior Wells, Billy Branch, Magic Slim, Elvin Bishop, Sugar Blue, Lonnie Brooks, William Clarke, Lefty Dizz, and numerous others at festivals and at Buddy Guy's Legends.


Reverend Raven and Chain Smokin' Altar Boys were chosen by the Wisconsin Music Industry (WAMI) for best blues band in 1999, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2010, and again in 2015. They also received the People's Choice Award in 2006, 2008 and 2010. The band has played in the Quad Cities several times since their 2013 appearance at the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, but you will want to catch this up-close-and-personal appearance at Kavanaugh's Hilltop on April 21.

MVBS Presents Golden State – Lone Star Revue Featuring Grammy Nominee Mark Hummel at RIBCO, Monday, April 10

golden state lone star revueThe Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents the Golden State – Lone Star Revue featuring an all-star, cross-country melding of musicians. These five masters of blues will be playing at RIBCO, 1815 2nd Avenue, Rock Island, IL on Monday, April 10 starting at 6:30 p.m. Tickets will only be sold at the door for $20/Mississippi Valley Blues Society members or $25 non-members. Membership applications will be available at the door.

Golden Star – Lone State Revue consists of five remarkable musicians from the Golden State of California and the Lone Star state of Texas who all love the blues, know the blues, and rock the blues like a barefoot lady dancing her heart out under the moon. From California - Mark Hummel (harp-blower, vocalist, bandleader and Grammy nominee) and RW Grigsby (bassist). And Texans - Anson Funderburgh (guitarist and Rockets bandleader), Austin guitarist and former Fabulous T-Bird Mike Keller (guitar), and Wes Starr (famed Austin drummer who has played with a who's who of Texas music royalty).

Mark Hummel has been steadily on the road since 1984 and released 17 albums and CDs since starting out. His latest is a Little Walter Tribute called “Remembering Little Walter” on Blind Pig Records with Charlie Musselwhite, Billy Boy Arnold, Sugar Ray and James Harman. Mark been nominated for three years in a row for “Best Harmonica” by the BMA Awards. He has been performing and producing the Blues Harmonica Blowouts in California since 1991 and has performed with these multi artists events with the top players in the genre all across the planet.

Anson Funderburgh is a native of Texas, and has spent the majority of his adult life playing the blues. Anson has earned the respect of artists like Delbert McClinton, Boz Scaggs, Jimmie & Stevie Ray Vaughan and Ronnie Earl. Over the years, these musicians have called on Anson to lend his tremendous guitar talents to their projects. Funderburgh recorded with the Fabulous Thunderbirds on their “Butt Rockin'” album, and went solo in 1981, when the New Orleans-based BlackTop label released “Talk to You by Hand”, the label's first release. After releasing nine albums on Black Top, in 1999 Funderburgh changed record labels with the release of “Change in my Pocket” for Bullseye Blues, a CD which won several W.C. Handy Awards. “Funderburgh remains a musician's musician. He'll explode into a fiery and melodic solo, and then seamlessly recede into a song at just the right moment to propel the rhythm...he makes sure the songs both breathe and burn...a band that truly understands the essence of the genre." - Blues Revue.

Rounding out the Golden State – Lone Star Revue are Mike Keller on guitar, RW Grigsby on bass, and famed Texas drummer Wes Starr. Between these three old Rome, GA cronies, they've played with a who's who of famed musicians – Fabulous Thunderbirds, Omar & the Howlers, Jr. Brown, Jimmy Vaughn, Asleep At The Wheel, Gary Primich, Kim Wilson, Mike Morgan, Carlene Carter, Hal Ketchum, Earl King, James Cotton and many more.

Damon Fowler Returns to the Quad Cities At Kavanaugh’s Hilltop, Friday, March 24, 2017

Damon Fowler byTracy MayThe Mississippi Valley Blues Society proudly brings back to the area Damon Fowler on Friday, March 24 at Kavanaugh’s Hilltop Tap, 1228 30th Street, Rock Island, IL. The show starts at 8:00 p.m. Admission is $10 for Mississippi Valley Blues Society members, or $12 for non-members (application will be available at the door).

With his hybrid of roots rock, blues, and sacred steel, Florida native Damon Fowler started wowing audiences with his musical exploits as a teenager, building a reputation as one of the hottest young players on the scene. Adding songwriting and vocal skills to his repertoire over the years has brought him many accolades, with critics extolling his originality and maturity as well as his technical guitar expertise. In last year's "Best of Tampa" poll, Creative Loafing magazine named him "Best Guitarist... And Slide Guitarist...and Lap Steel Player...and Dobro Player."

Fowler's guitar work has been compared to Johnny Winter and Jeff Beck, while his slide guitar has a hint of the late Duane Allman. He can play fiery guitar runs with the best of them, but it's his lyrical work on lap steel and Dobro that makes him stand out among the legions of guitar heroes. Guitar Player magazine notes: "In the Blues world—or any other genre, for that matter—the complete package is hard to come by...to combine facile fervor on a Tele, a lap-steel, and a flattop with a truly compelling vocal style and soulful songwriting—that's something rare in an artist of any age. It's even more impressive when such maturity and authenticity come from a 25-year-old like Damon Fowler."