Highlighting the 2022 Blues Festival entertainment, Ana Popovic and John Németh have set the stage for an epic return to headline a full venue of talented blues artists.
Ana Popovic is celebrating 20 years as a touring musician. The award-winning guitar player, singer and songwriter therefor releases “Live for LIVE,” an exciting hour and a half CD & DVD demonstrating why she's proudly looking back at a career of thousands of shows worldwide. This high-energy concert showcases not only Ana's mesmerizing guitar skills but also her fabulous band, successfully merging musical styles. Ana's passion on stage is so evident that the title sums it up, this IS what she lives for.
She also rejoined for the 5th time as a member of the Experience Hendrix Tour in 2019, touring the world paying homage to the musical genius of Jimi Hendrix. Besides Ana, this show brought together a diverse, all-star aggregation of extraordinary guitarists including Buddy Guy, Joe Satriani, Jonny Lang, Dweezil Zappa, Eric Johnson, Billy Cox and many more.
Before that, the award-winning, hard-touring, guitar slinger and singer Ana Popovic toured promoting her 2018 album ‘Like It On Top’, that focuses on empowered, successful, inspiring female role models. Like It On Top opened #2 as the iTunes most downloaded US blues albums. The album peaked at #2 of the Billboard Top Selling blues albums chart.
Recorded in Nashville, TN and produced by four-time Grammy winner Keb’ Mo’, the blues influenced album features guest appearances from Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Robben Ford and Keb’ Mo’. Ana Popovic fell in love with American blues as a kid, starting back home in Belgrade, Serbia (ex-Yugoslavia), then moved to the Netherlands to study at the conservatory of jazz and world-music. She lived in Amsterdam for over ten years, and then in a single-minded pursuit of her art and career, she relocated to Memphis, TN to record and work with Southern musicians. Finally, two years ago, she moved her family to Los Angeles, California where she now lives.
Called “one helluva a guitar-player” by Bruce Springsteen and nominated for six Blues Music Awards, Ana has appeared on the covers of Vintage Guitar and Guitar Player magazine. Her albums ‘Can You Stand The Heat’ and ‘Unconditional’ were USA Today Picks-Of-The-Week and featured on NPR Weekend Edition, who praised her “Fiery technique on the Stratocaster”. Nearly all of Ana’s albums reached the top of the Billboard Blues Charts. She and her six-piece band have toured tirelessly, sharing stages with B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Jeff Beck, Joe Bonamassa and many others.
As a teenager in the early ‘90s growing up in the muddy potato fields of Idaho, John Németh was drawn to the hard-edged hip hop sounds and rock bands of the day, until a friend, Tom Moore, introduced him to the Junior Wells and Buddy Guy classic “Hoodoo Man Blues.” Together they formed Fat John & the 3 Slims, which is still regarded as a legendary band in the Boise region. John played harp and sang in local bands, often opening the show for nationally touring blues acts and quickly caught the ear of established blues musicians. It didn’t take long before he was releasing his own recordings, “The Jack Of Harps” (2002) and “Come And Get It” (2004), featuring Junior Watson, and performing in Junior Watson’s band.
John relocated to San Francisco in 2004, where he had the bitter-sweet good fortune to undertake a two-year stint with Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets, filling in for the ailing Sam Myers. Németh immersed himself in the deep musical waters of the Bay area, absorbing more of the soul and funk grooves of what he calls “the early East Bay Grease sound” of San Francisco and Oakland bands.
John’s talents did not go unnoticed and he soon signed a recording contract with Blind Pig Records. His national debut for that label, “Magic Touch” (2007), produced by Anson Funderburgh and featuring Junior Watson on guitar, received an ecstatic response from fans and the media, and he was hailed as the new voice of the blues. Living Blues enthused, “Magic Touch gives hope that the blues will survive.” In 2008 Németh was recruited by Elvin Bishop to do some performances and contribute four vocal tracks to his Grammy-nominated album “The Blues Rolls On.”
Németh released two more albums on the Blind Pig label, “Love Me Tonight” (2009) & “Name The Day (2010), both hitting #6 on the Billboard Blues Chart, and beginning his long string of Blues Music Award (BMA) nominations, numbering 20 at last count. John has also won two Blues Blast Music Awards – Best New Artist Debut Recording and Sean Costello Rising Star Award. John followed up with two independently released live albums in 2012, “Blues Live” and “Soul Live.”
In 2013 John relocated to Memphis, Tennessee, where he teamed up with producer Scott Bomar and his classic Memphis Soul band, the Bo-Keys, to create an album of revisited soul classics, “Memphis Grease” (2014 Blue Corn), which debuted at #4 on the Billboard Blues Chart. John won the 2104 BMA for Best Soul Blues Male Artist, followed by “Memphis Grease” winning Best Soul Blues Album in 2015.
In 2017 Németh released “Feelin’ Freaky” (produced by Luther Dickinson) on his own Memphis Grease label, crushing all barriers of style and genre with an album of original songs that defied all the usual pigeonholes, drawing from his strong influences in blues and R&B, as well as contemporary sounds in hip hop and rock ‘n’ roll. Later that same year, Németh was part of a side project “The Love Light Orchestra Featuring John Németh” recorded live at one of Memphis’ favorite watering holes, Bar DKDC. The 10-piece band was initially envisioned by guitarist Joe Restivo, vocalist John Németh and arranger/trumpeter Marc Franklin.
Németh returned to Electraphonic in December of 2019 with his seasoned road band of young gun players, The Blue Dreamers, featuring 19 year-old guitar phenom from Philadelphia, Jon Hay, drummer Danny Banks and Matt Wilson on bass for a rowdy southern swamp roots session resulting in his 10th album, “Stronger Than Strong” demonstrating, yet again, his uncanny ability to skillfully blend retro and modern blues and soul into compelling music that is simultaneously old and new.
Rae Gordon Band
From Portland, Oregon, the multi-award-winning Rae Gordon Band serves up a potent stew of gritty blues and heartfelt soul – soaring vocals with searing guitar counterpoint, high-energy horns and a hard-driving rhythm section with the power of a freight train.
Rae began her singing career in the piano bars and comedy clubs of Los Angeles, where she honed her ability to relate to any audience – from a small wine bar with a few people sipping libations, to a big festival attended by thousands. Rae’s approachability and onstage charisma are as well-known as her multi-octave range. She has won the Cascade Blues Association’s Muddy Award for Best Female Vocalist five times, landing her in their Hall Of Fame. Her first recording, Blue Lemonade, hit #10 on the Billlboard Blues Chart; her second offering, Dirty Flowers, has enjoyed extensive airplay in the U.S. and beyond. In 2017 the Rae Gordon Band released its third recording, the award-winning Better Than I Was. And in 2019, Wrong Kind Of Love, the Rae Gordon Band’s follow-up to 2017’s award-winning Better Than I Was, offers up ten original blues-soul songs.
The CD covers a wide gamut of styles, from lowdown barroom blues to dance-worthy funk, from heart-tugging soul ballad to slide-drenched rage rocker, from minor-key blues angst to uplifting soul anthem. The recording features Rae’s 7-piece Rae Gordon Band and they will bring all this music and an incredible good time to our Festival. Don’t miss this show!
Lloyd Jones Struggle
The Coeur d’Alene Blues Festival is most proud to welcome back a true North West legend. The Muddy Award given from Portland’s Cascade Blues Association for Best R&B Act is called The Lloyd Jones. Portland, Oregon roots artist Lloyd Jones has recorded six critically acclaimed albums, toured internationally, and racked up dozens of major awards and accolades. He’s a relentless road dog, hitting festival stages, Delbert’s annual Sandy Beaches Cruises (he’s been a regular on six winter cruises), and clubs all across the land to enthusiastic crowds who can’t get enough of his swampy blues, his back porch picking, his serious-as-anthrax funk, soul, roadhouse two-beats, and old-school rhythm and blues (back before the R&B tag was somehow appropriated for other musical purposes, apparently when we weren’t looking). Yet he may be the most invisible, best-kept roots/blues/Americana secret on the contemporary scene.
Jones is a master of the soulful understatement, the raw growl, and the groove. From his roots in muddy Oregon soil, he’s forged a 30-plus-year career as an impassioned singer and fierce guitar slinger, a clever and soulful songwriter, a bandleader, record producer, and an almost strident torchbearer for all that’s true and good about America’s music. Jones is his own true artist who works diligently at pushing American roots music forward. This six piece band will blow you away.
Whack A Mole
This band started with two of the coolest people you’ll ever meet coming up with the silliest band name they could think of and then adding their favorite dudes to play with and their favorite songs to play and sing. Rock, Motown, Funk, Disco, and whatever the people want! Perfect for ending a day of great blues, this band is here to party, here to please. Here to play what the people wanna dance to!
This is a group made up of players with decades of experience and education who love what they do and do it well. This group of super talented friends finds a way to blow the minds of the partying public. You never know which mole will pop up at a show, but you will always be beaten over the head with a good time. Stay in the Main room after Ana Popovic for this fun one. And you should try to meet Ryan Dunn and Amanda Tsubota during this event, they’re great. Also performing as Bubble and Squeak in the lobby on Friday AND the couple will start off The Blues Breakfast on Sunday.
Bubble and Squeak
Ryan Dunn and Amanda Tsubota are Bubble and Squeak and they are not telling which is who. Ryan is much sought after guitar player, a regular with the VooDoo Church, founder of Whack A Mole and often seen in only the best of blues and other bands around the Inland Northwest. Amanda was in many of those bands, playing together for the last 10 years in rock, country, and funk bands. Ryan and Amanda formed Bubble and Squeak in 2018, becoming a couple, then a married couple, and doing songs they both love as a multi-genre acoustic act perfect for welcoming everyone to the Festival!
Perennial favorites, Doghouse Boyz are the Winners of the 2017, 2016 & 2015 I.E.B.S. Best Acoustic Blues Act. The Doghouse Boyz duo consists of the 2018 Best Blues Slide Guitar winner Neil Elwell, now in the I.E.B.S. Hall of Fame, on acoustic guitar, dobro and vocals. His compadre Ramiro Vijarro adds fretless bass and vocals. Consummate musicians, they play original blues as well as dynamic renditions of old favorites and obscure tunes from ‘back in the day.’ This duo is an Inland Northwest staple at festivals and watering holes and have opened many concerts for such notable acts as Roy Rogers and the late Norton Buffalo, among others. Their music will be a great accompaniment to a cruise across the lake and back for all fans of acoustic blues.
Bobby Patterson Band
Of all the bands in The Pacific Northwest, who won the right to represent the Washington Blues Society in Memphis this year 2021, for The International Blues Challenge? Yep, Bobby and his band did.
Rocking the Mish-A-Nock, this power blues rock trio has been tearing it up in the Northwest for a long time. The Inland Empire Blues Society has bestowed on him numerous awards as well, most recently winner of the 2019 Best Male Blues Performer, as well as winning FIVE I.E.B.S. awards in 2018. IF you can’t make the Friday Blues Cruise, Bobby & band will do 2 cruises Saturday also!
Kenny James Miller Band
Also on board to rock the other boat, a Coeur d’Alene Blues Festival favorite, The Kenny James Miller Band is an all-original Northwest US Regional Rock/Blues band located in Montana. A trio of professional, accomplished musicians capable of opening or sharing a stage with any top band.
KJMB received the Inland Empire Blues Society 2011, "Best New Blues Band" Award, and were also winners of the Spokane, WA Regional Semi-Final Competition for the 2011 Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge. They have shared the stage with Robin Trower and many other National Bands. Their song "Can't You Hear Me" was chosen to be aired on Blues Deluxe Radio, a nationally syndicated radio show.
The Kenny James Miller Band performed in a Montana PBS program, "11th & Grant with Eric Funk" in 2015 and the performance can be found at their web site. This is one fun rockin’ blues trio!
The 2019 WINNER of Best New Blues Artist from the Inland Empire Blues Society, hailing from the beautiful town of Bellingham Washington, comes a new and electrifying blues/funk band, starring 24 year old Diego Romero.
Born and raised in the Walla Walla Valley, Diego has always found himself fascinated with the art of music, and soon found himself fully engaged within his community. Though the love for diverse music began to grow, he realized the genre that connected with him the most was none other than the Blues and Funk. The emotion, the feel and the rawness of the genre was more than enough to draw him in.
With having only been in the live music scene for a few years now, Diego has already played numerous clubs and festivals across the Northwest. With vocals and guitar work to the likings of Buddy Guy, Prince, and Freddy King, Diego and his band are bound to get that roof top shaking and the party bouncing with electrifying blues and funk.
Rusty and Ginger
Amazing vocalist, Festival favorite and well known ginger, Sara Brown, and her husband Jesse, will perform together again for us this year as Rusty and Ginger, while overlooking the lake on the open air beautiful new Lakeview Terrace and in Whispers Lounge. They just won the 2021 Inland Northwest Country Music Association’s BEST DUO award and Sara won the TOP ENTERTAINER award. Country or Blues, they are a regular on every stage, from Wallace Blues Festival to this one, Sara is another I.E.B.S. Hall of Famer, and again winning in 2019 for Best Female Blues Performer.
Also acclaimed by Hollywood, Sara Brown won a trophy from Universal Studios in 2002, being named Singer of The Year. She has been an opener for Ana Popovic as well as Beth Hart. Known for her fabulous shoes, fabulous voice and fabulous stage presence, Sara brings a fun filled sassiness to her shows and a smile to all who see her. Come fall in love with Sara if you haven’t already.