Friday Evening Kickoff Party
If you enjoy Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, etc. — you’ll want to see this young guitar player! Up-and-coming blues artist Kyle Renfro brings a high energy blues rock guitar show. His setlist is a mix of high-energy originals, and classic blues rock covers. Based in LaCrosse, WI, Kyle is expanding out as far as he can reach with his newly revamped trio, featuring local powerhouse players Dave Orr (Drums) and Tim Powers (Bass).
Big Mouth features a premier horn section that swings with all of your favorites. Whether you’re looking for a perfect rendition of James Brown, a swinging rendition of Glenn Miller big band standards, or the soulful vocals of Van Morrison, Big Mouth has you covered.
For 27 years and counting Big Mouth and the Power Tool Horns is still touring the area and entertaining crowds with a variety of music. Featuring a brass horn section that fits the band’s name, Big Mouth was originally formed by Jay Whitney, who moved to Door County, in 1990, and teamed with Pat Judy, Woody Mankowski, and Paul Sowinski. A few years later a horn section was added and the Power Tool Horns were born. Sowinski, who lives in Fish Creek, says band members have changed over the years, but Big Mouth is still bringing a unique style of sound their fans appreciate.
Stefan Geisinger Band
After hearing B.B. King live at the Regal, a then-17 year old Geisinger picked up a guitar and dug deep into the roots of Blues music. “Something touched me. King’s impassioned voice and guitar playing made me tear up. I still get the same feeling when listening to – or performing – Blues today.”
Geisinger, a native of Rice Lake, WI, honed his guitar skills for eight years; at age 23, ready to bring his distinctive style to live audiences, he formed The Stefan Geisinger Band with Buck Barrickman (The Pumps, “Cover to Cover”) and Travis Nocolai (Big Back Yard; Greg Gilbertson, “Surviving the Echoes”).
“When performing, I try to entice people to experience the same emotions I am. Playing Blues is the only means I have to share emotions with an audience. Music, to me, can express a happiness so intense that it makes you cry. For me, music is a feeling.”
Geisinger’s expressive and skillful – not to mention spirited – performances have drawn rave reviews from audiences. Listeners often remark that there seems to be an old soul inhabiting such a relatively young Blues artist.
The Chris O’Leary Band
The GNBS was very fortunate to have an opportunity to sign the Chris O’Leary Band for our 24th Annual Blues Café. It so happens that Chris’s Band has a new CD that will be released in January of 2024, and you will be able to hear these new songs up close at our show.
Chris, aside from being an outstanding harp player, is also a gifted singer with an extremely tight band behind him. Chris’s musical background includes duties as lead singer and front man for rock and roll hall of famer and Grammy award winner Levon Helm’s band, The Barnburners. During the 6 years that Chris and Levon played together they toured across the US and Canada lighting up stages everywhere they went. Chris has appeared on stage with: Legendary Rolling Stones sideman Bobby Keys, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Jimmy Vivino, Jeff Healy, Dan Akroyd, Albert Lee, Dave Edmunds, Dave Maxwell and the great James Cotton to name just a few. Chris has also recorded with Bill Perry and Hubert Sumlin, among others.
The Chris O’Leary Band’s debut CD “Mr. Used to Be” won the 2011 Best New Artist Debut CD Blues Blast Award and was nominated for best new artist debut at the 2011 American Blues Music Awards. Chris’s Band played for us in 2015, and we are delighted to have them back as they are a definite ‘Crowd Pleaser”!
The Joyann Parker Band
Joyann Parker played for the Blues Café audience in 2019, and as an ‘opening act’ she received a standing ovation from the entire crowd when she was done! We are delighted to have her, and her band, back for our show in 2024.
She is an electrifying and versatile musician whose soulful voice, captivating performances, and impeccable songwriting have taken the music scene by storm. Born and raised in a small town, Joyann’s deep-rooted passion for music began at a young age, drawing inspiration from the blues, gospel, jazz, and rock genres.
With a voice that exudes both power and vulnerability, Joyann’s performances are nothing short of a revelation, leaving audiences spellbound with every note she delivers. Whether she’s belting out a soulful ballad or shredding on her guitar, her raw emotion and undeniable talent shine through, connecting with listeners on a profound level.
Joyann’s journey as a musician has been marked by relentless dedication and a commitment to honing her craft. Throughout the years, she has graced renowned stages across the country, leaving an indelible mark wherever she performs. Her live shows are a testament to her magnetic stage presence, and it’s no surprise that she has garnered a devoted and growing fanbase.
Not just a gifted vocalist, Joyann is also a formidable songwriter. Her lyrics are introspective, exploring themes of love, heartache, resilience, and personal growth. Combining her insightful storytelling with her rich, soulful melodies, she has created a unique and captivating sound that sets her apart in the industry.
“Joyann Parker knows her way around a song. She climbs inside it, dwells in it, lives with every note and phrase, delivering performances that seize our emotions and capture the ragged despair and heightened joy of life.” (Henry L. Carrigan, Jr./Living Blues Magazine)
The Cash Box Kings
The Cash Box Kings, according to Living Blues magazine, “are one of the best blues bands in the land.” The group, co-led by real-deal Chicago blues vocalist and songwriter Oscar “Mr. 43rd Street” Wilson, and Madison, Wisconsin-based songwriter, harmonica giant and singer Joe Nosek, plays masterfully raw, unvarnished, old-school ensemble blues. Wilson’s huge, emotive vocals and Nosek’s blistering harmonica fuel their razor-sharp original songs and always incisive reinvention of obscure blues classics. AllMusic says The Cash Box Kings offer up “an enthusiastic celebration of Chicago blues in all of its electric forms…funny and smart…slow grooves and hyper-charged shuffles. The Cash Box Kings don’t merely pay homage to the past, they bring tradition into the present [and deliver] a rollicking good time.”
On their new Alligator Records album, Oscar’s Motel (their third for the label and 11th overall), The Cash Box Kings bring contemporary authority and old-school authenticity to each of the album’s 11 tracks. The band—featuring guitarist Billy Flynn, drummer Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith, bassist John W. Lauler, and keyboardist Lee Kanehira—opens a door into the intoxicating spirit and sounds of 1950s and 1960s Chicago-based blues, and then they bring it all right up to the minute with Wilson and Nosek’s original, instantly memorable songs.
For Oscar’s Motel, recorded in Chicago and produced by Nosek, The Cash Box Kings made some significant decisions going into the studio. According to Nosek, “While we are never afraid to tackle any subject, we decided to put aside everyday problems and have a bit more fun. So, no songs about COVID and this time nothing too political. Our goal was to have Oscar’s Motel be a celebration, an open invitation to leave your troubles behind and have a carefree, down-home, good time.” One listen and it’s clear the band succeeded. The opening two songs—the driving, cinematic title track (with lyrics so vivid you can just about smell the barbeque) and the funky Down On The South Side, are filled with real life characters ripped straight from Wilson’s colorful past. Wilson says, “Such a glorious time. Growing up, there was a tavern on every corner with a band playing and music coming from front porches on every block.”
The Dylan Salfer Band
Dylan Salfer is a musician based out of Minneapolis Minnesota. Blues, funk, R&B, folk, as long as it’s got soul it’s in there!
Dylan started playing guitar at nine years old and by age 13 he was playing professionally. Gigging lots locally in the twin cities, as well as traveling all over the United States playing festivals. In his early/late teens he was noticed and brought under the wing of many of the last living legends in blues music. At age 14 he was playing with Legendary Chicago blues man James Cotton. Dylan has also played with Buddy Guy on several occasions, shared stages and bills with Mavis Staples, Kingfish Ingram, Marcus King, The Spin Doctors, and many more.
Coming into his last year of high school, Dylan also started touring all over the world with Bernard Allison, and playing with Bobby Whitlock (of Derek & the Dominoes, Delaney & Bonnie and friends, George Harrison). He’s also played on many records, including every track on Bernard Allison’s latest record “Songs From the Road” featuring the legendary Grammy winning artist Bobby Rush. This record was #1 Billboard Blues and Rock charters for over two weeks in a row!
Now in his early 20s Dylan is writing original music and making a name for himself as a solo artist.
People often describe his sound as “seasoned and soulful” which he says is due to all of the traveling and wonderful opportunities to play with such amazing musicians growing up.
You can catch the Dylan Salfer Band every Wednesday at the legendary venue “Bunkers” in Minneapolis. Stay tuned while he debut into a promising solo career!”
Acoustic Artist Between Main-Stage Acts
Reverend Meantooth (Tom Jordan)
20 Watt Tombstone frontman Tom Jordan’s solo project: Reverend Meantooth draws inspiration from early blues, gospel, and folk music to create his own electrifying sound. With gritty vocals and raw guitar licks reminiscent of Robert Johnson, Bukka White, and John Lee Hooker, Meantooth channels the blues masters of the past while adding his own fiery flair. His music evokes the deep delta blues tradition, old testament fury, and backwoods gospel tent revivals. Meantooth brings the sounds of the early 20th century to the modern day, continuing the legacy of American roots music with his unique style. Playing only an acoustic resonator guitar, a kick drum and a tambourine, it’s a far cry from the much louder sound one is used to hearing with with the band. A welcome adventure in American roots music.
Check his tunes out here.