San Diego blues fans, heads up! AimLoan.com and Wicked Harem Booking & Productions in association with Humphreys Backstage Live is proud to present Season One of the Gourmet Blues Concert Series. Five different national and international headliners make their way to Southern California for just one night of blues every month, in an intimate setting, designed specifically for your listening pleasure. Just to make the evening a little more personal, each headliner will feature one of our premier San Diego blues musicians to open the shows.
When talking with Vince Kasperick of AimLoan he was excited about this joint effort behind this very special Blues series. We’re all committed to this mission of bringing national acts to a small venue here in San Diego, Vince said. I’ve traveled around the country and there’s this little place called the Blue Room in Kansas City, Missouri that I’ve visited a couple of times and fell in love with that concept…just a small venue, with seating and drinks, a little food and great blues featuring headlining national acts. It’s been on my mind, and I’ve been looking for the right people to partner up with and when the blues festival ended, I thought it was time to revisit that.
Not only will this series present national artists and their touring bands it will showcase some of San Diego’s best and brightest blues players. Absolutely! Vince says. We want to make sure we promote the local talent we have here as well.
Let’s talk about tickets and event options that are available. Tickets are $65. There are only 130 seats, and we priced it to sell out. Humphreys is really stepping up; they’re going to have a meal package and a room package available. It’s all designed around a great evening of blues and/or if people want to make a weekend of it around Shelter Island and the San Diego Bay.
For more information about any and all options Vince says, Tickets are going to be through Ticketmaster with the link to Gourmetblues.com. And there are only 130 tickets and that’s it. An intimate setting with a national artist, This is really a collaborative event. Everybody is participating for the good of the blues. We really want to hear from the people who buy tickets and support this event and ask them who want they to want to see next season and get input from people.
You’ve stressed the point of not just the artist, but they’re bringing their whole touring band… It’s one of the things we insisted on in the contract,which is that they commit to bringing their entire band. It’s not going to be one of these deals where you get a big name that’s backed by a local group that’s never played together. It’s going to be the team that’s been playing together all the time, their touring band. I understand there is also talk of interaction with the artists, possible conversations at intermission with the performers themselves? That’s something I saw at the San Francisco Blues Festival. They would always interview the artist between sets. I just found that to be such an interesting aspect, to dig deep, hearing the stories of growing up, and influences during their musical journey. I think that will make it really special for blues aficionados to get to know the artists.
Unlike larger venues that charge more and pack 400 or 500 people into open areas or end up standing in front of you, Vince was adamant. We want to make it special; it’s not just another show. It’s an experience with other blues people who are like-minded. These seated shows offer the intimacy of a recording studio along with a maximum of 130 of your new best friends.
I Believe by Thornetta Davis
Thornetta Davis is Detroit’s reigning Queen of the Blues and has recorded and performed with an eclectic range of musicians from Bob Seger and Kid Rock to Little Steven VanZandt and Bonnie Raitt. Her voice can be heard on variety of promotional adverts from Cadillac commercials to the NBA campaign in support of the Detroit Pistons. Her work can also be found in the Bill Murray film soundtrack of Osmosis Jones and on the very first season of the hit HBO series, The Sopranos. She’s appeared in theatre productions of Jazz Birth of the Cool and The Diva Project. She’s opened for B.B. King and performed with Grammy Award-winning producers Don Was and conductor and violinist John McLaughlin Williams. In 2017, her powerful voice earned her the prestigious L’Academie Du Jazz Award for Prix Blues Album in Paris for the record Honest Woman. Earlier this year she took home the 2023 Blues Music Award in the Female Soul Blues category. Opening for Thornetta will be San Diego’s own Bill Magee.
You may not know this, but Sugaray Rayford spent a number of years right here in San Diego’s North County in the village of Fallbrook. He, too, took home a BMA this year for the best Soul Blues Album, In Too Deep. Not really a surprise after capturing Soul Blues Artist of the Year honors in 2019 and doubling down in 2020 with Artist of the Year and the B.B. King Entertainer of the Year Blues Music Awards. This former United States Marine has toured the world showcasing his powerful voice and masterful R&B groove and grit. His 2019 release of Somebody Save Me with songwriter and collaborator Eric Corne featured Mavis Staples’ guitarist, Rick Holmstrom, and earned Rayford his first Grammy nomination. Opening the show will be San Diego’s Queen of Steam Michele Lundeen.
This special music series continues into 2024 when the New Year opens with Mr. Sipp (Castro Coleman). Music fans may recognize Mr. Sipp from his early years in the gospel music realm with credits on both sides of the glass, recording and producing. His multi-faceted musical skills, stellar vocals, and song-writing talents have appeared on over 50 national recording projects with multiple Grammy nominations. In 2014, he won the International Blues Challenge followed by a 2016 Blues Music Award in the New Artist Album category for The Mississippi Blues Child. Mr. Sipp has appeared on the big screen, including the James Brown film, ‘Get on Up’ and the movie ‘Texas Red.’ He also portrayed a young B.B. King on the CMT series, Sun Records. His musical gifts and the release of his latest album The Soul Side of Sipp have had him crisscrossing America and touring throughout Europe and South America. Opening for Mr. Sipp will be Fallbrook’s favorite son, Nathan James.
If you are unfamiliar with D.K. Harrell, things are about to change. At just 25 years old, he is one of blues music’s new young guns. Along with blues contemporaries like Gary Clark, Jr., Selwyn Birchwood, and Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Harrell is currently on tour behind his debut album, The Right Man, which was recording in Northern California at the acclaimed Greaseland Studios with Kid Andersen and not one, not two, but three Grammy-winning musicians: Jerry Jemmott, Jim Pugh, and Tony Coleman. He’s also tearing up the blues festival circuit; just this year he’s played Portland’s Waterfront, the King Biscuit Blues and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festivals. See this rising star and incredible young bluesman as his career is just starting to explode. Opening the show will be one of San Diego’s premier blues bands, the Fremonts.
As the newest inductee into the Blues Hall of Fame, John Primer and his Real Deal Blues Band have the honor of closing out this first season of the Gourmet Blues Series. John Primer was Muddy Waters’ last guitarist and is probably the most prolific blues musician still walking the planet. He is a master craftsman with blues rooted in Mississippi dirt and honed to a fine edge in the infamous clubs and bars of Chicago. With running buddies like Junior Wells, Magic Slim, and Willie Dixon, Primer pulls no punches and says, I’m going to keep it real—the original sound—and keep it as close to the original stuff that I learned. I don’t try to change it. Everything you see me playing on stage is going to be real close to the traditional blues, the way it was played, the way it was made. If you don’t have the feeling of it, you just can’t do it. My feelings come from hard times and hard living, and that’s the way I play…from my heart. Opening for John Primer will be blues party band favorites, Stoney B Blues.
Blues enthusiasts, this is your chance to see and hear some of the most exciting, award-winning and talented blues players in the nation in the best possible listening environment. Blues the way they were meant to be heard. Plan your blues calendar around the Gourmet Blues Concert Series, brought to you by AimLoan.com, Wicked Harem Booking & Productions, and Humphreys Backstage Live. Book early for the best seats and we’ll see you there. Bon Appétit!