Harvest Time Blues Festival 2-3-4 September 2011, Monaghan Ireland

The story of the Blues and the history of its people unfolds in the line-up at this year’s festival.


Download full press release in PDF format here: Press-Release-Harvest-Time-Blues


Boo Boo Davis from Drew, Mississippi in the heart of the Delta, raised in the richest Cotton land,which attracted some of the best blues players. The sharecroppers sang loudly to help pass the gruelling hours of work. Boo Boo developed his loud, bellowing voice based on the singing he heard in the fields as a young boy. In the 1920’s, the Blues left the fields and went to Church. Hundreds of different Churches opened up, it was the only place of sanctuary the ‘Blacks’ (African-Americans) had. Within these walls the Blues developed into Gospel, known then as the Devil’s music, but it was God’s music first! 

Sharrie Williams unique style of “Rockin’ Gospel Blues” is surrounded by strong and powerful vocals and arrangements, with songs that grab your soul. Sharrie touches souls with her talent and passion for her music, combined with her smoky, sexy and imitable style. Out of church, heading to the industrial North went over 2 million peoples, the largest migration of people in the world, even today! It was on the streets and clubs of Chicago that the first Electric Blues sound was founded by the great Muddy Waters. The blues had left the church and went to the bars and juke joints.

On Saturday, his eldest Son Mud Morganfield from Chicago performs, “he is so similar to his father’s vocal style and energy that it is downright spooky”.  The South-Western states took this electric blues and created the Texas sound. In the late 1960s and early 1970s the blues scene began to flourish, particularly in the clubs of Austin. The diverse style placed particular emphasis on powerful lead guitars, Smokin’ Joe & Bnois King bring their scorching Lone-Star State Blues with their twin frontman line-up to late Saturday night.

Later on in the 1980’s, Jump blues was revived by internationally renowned bands such as Roomful of Blues a swing revival big band. Duke Robillard one of the founder members, creating this new energised sound which was Duke’s calling card, Jump, Swing and blues !! Sunday gives you the chance to catch his groovin’ sounds…. B. B. King himself has called Duke “One of the great players, one of God’s guitarists”.

The festival closes with the new generation of Torch-Bearers of the Blues, Michael “Iron Man” Burks stands tall as a major contemporary blues, poised on the brink of major stardom. A fierce flamethrower guitar slinger and an exciting soulful singer, his music has phenomenal firepower. He plays with a decidedly urban, contemporary blues style, and a soul-infused vocal style that suggests some down-home cooking. He is the proof that the blues is alive and well in the skilful hands of this Iron Man.

The Main Artists performing at the Marquee:

Boo Boo Davis (Mississippi) Friday
“This how Mississippi blues sounds in 2011”. Boo Boo remembers musicians such as John Lee Hooker, Elmore James and Robert Pete Williams dropping by and rehearsing at their house. He  developed his loud, bellowing voice based on the singing he heard in his father!s cotton fields as a young boy. In fact, that voice, through the years has demolished many amps and speaker cabinets. The blues helps him to keep his spirit high and survive day-to-day life. It deals with all the basic raw elements of life; good and bad, plain and simple. “Not for the faint hearted, but virtually is a must for lovers of basic Mississippi blues.”

Sharrie Williams & the Wise Guys (Michigan) Friday
Sharrie!s unique style of “Rockin! Gospel Blues” is surrounded by strong and powerful vocals and arrangements. Sharrie touches souls with her talent and passion for her music, combined with her smoky, sexy and imitable style. She always leaves her audience calling for more. A galactic vocal force to be reckoned with, a ragging flame of fire that has been sprayed with gasoline, she has a message burning within her soul. “Sharrie Williams is a gifted songwriter who freshens a genre that’s always searching for authentic blues and gospel artists.”

Mud Morganfield (Chicago) Saturday
If you are looking for the real Chicago blues, then you need look no further. Everyone knows that Muddy Waters, Godfather of the Blues, was the founder of the Chicago electric blues sound. There is no one in the world more capable of recreating that than his oldest son, Mud Morganfield. This son and proud heir of the King of Chicago blues is blessed with a big and powerful voice that can manage to convey deep emotional resonance on the slow numbers and good old fashioned testosterone laden strut on those classic shuffles. “A genuine artist who just happens to sound like his Daddy. Mud is a natural performer, at ease and full of fun.”

Smokin! Joe Kubek & Bnois King (Texas) Saturday
In the ’80s, he met guitarist/vocalist Bnois King a native of Monroe, LA, and the duo formed Smokin! Joe Kubek Band. With Kubek, a rocking and fierce picker and slider, and King laying down a bed of smooth supporting jazz chords, they blend into one of the most potent guitar combinations the Southwest had ever produced. Kubek explains the relationship succinctly: “I pull the blues out of him, and he pulls the jazz out of me. Bnois knows so much about jazz it!s amazing.” Their latest offering; Have Blues, Will Travel is regarded by King as “the best record the band has made”. “Kubek and King pump out rocking, kicking blues for those times when the feet just want to start stomping”.

Duke Robillard (Rhode Island) Sunday
Duke’s calling card has always been an energetic mixture of jump, swing and blues that stirs up dance floors, along with an amorously obsessive connection to the music of Texas bluesman T-Bone Walker. “Robillard is a soloist of stunning force and originality.” The guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, bandleader, studio musician, and producer gained long-due recognition in the beginning of the new millennium. “A guitarist!s guitarist, Duke Robillard walks the tightrope between traditionalism and experimentation. He!s a master of many styles who moves forward while maintaining a firm grounding in the past.”

Michael “Iron Man! Burks (Milwaukee) Sunday
With a nickname earned by his hours-long, intensely physical performances, fearsome guitar attack, tough, smoky vocals and the thousands of miles logged behind the wheel of his touring van, Burks is a modern blues hero. Nobody in today!s blues world successfully bridges searing electric guitar blues with unbridled rock & roll energy like Burks. He is a musician with deep roots in the blues tradition. He performs every song he plays with intensity, conviction and soul. “An immensely talented guitarist and singer who will singe the whiskers right off your face.”

The Lounge at the Marquee: Friday, Saturday and Sunday: 

Red Hot Blues! (Toronto, Canada, and Surrey, England) “This is a boiling broth of music stew, classic Blues show!” This features international renowned blues recording artists: Diana Braithwaite and Chris Whiteley, with ace piano player, two time British Blues Award winner – Bob Hall. Braithwaite!s authentic sound led her into the company of Stalwarts Mel Brown, Albert Collins, and John Lee Hooker. Kansas born multi-instrumentalist, Chris Whiteley, appeared on Saturday Night Live and toured and recorded with Blind John Davis, Sonny Land Slim and Leon Redbone.

The Acoustic Acts at the Market House:

Steve James Austin (Texas)
He is described as an underground legend in his home state of Texas, Steve is widely recognised as Austin!s prime exponent of acoustic roots/blues music. “The specific excitement of his performances ought to be enough to convince anyone that there is something real, something unrefined, something vital in the hands and throat of a master like James.”

Otis Gibbs (Indiana)
He first stepped in the stage at the age of four, when he sang Jimmie Rodgers “Waiting for a Train! at a neighbourhood honky tonk, and has been hooked since. Some people refer to him as a folk artist, but that is a simplistic way to describe this man who has slept in hobo jungles, walked with nomadic shepherds in the Carpathian Mountains, been strip searched by dirty cops in Detroit, and has an FBI file. “There is an authenticity and dedication in Gibbs’ delivery which is somehow cleansing in its purity.”

Otis Taylor (Denver, Colorado)
“Otis is arguably the most relevant blues artist of our time.” Taylor!s music is where he makes his most direct and personal statement about the African-Americans. He addresses the lynching of his greatgrandfather and the brutal murder of his uncle. Though he discusses these heavyweight issues and others like homelessness, tyranny, and injustice, his personal style is light-hearted. “I!m good at dark, but I!m not a particularly unhappy person. I!d just like to make enough money to buy a Porsche.”

Watermelon Slim (Oklahoma) He was described by Jerry Wexler as a “one-of-a-kind pickin! n singing Okie dynamo.” Slim has been a truck driver, forklift operator, sawmiller, collection agent, funeral officiator and a small time criminal. The latter resulted in him being forced to flee Boston. Now Slim lives in Oklahoma farming watermelons – hence the stage name. “I’ve lived a fuller life than most people could in two. I’ve lived on three continents, and I’ve played music with a bunch of immortal blues players. I’ve fought in a war, and against a war. I’ve seen an awful lot and I’ve done an awful lot.”

The Marquee: The doors open in the Marquee at 10pm each night. Red Hot Blues will entertain you in the bar area until the main acts comes on stage at 11.30pm. The stage will be rocking until 3am. Tickets cost #20 each night.

The Market House: Acoustic venue: The ticket price is “12 Friday night and “15 for Saturday and Sunday. The performers vary from day to day, however they will end at 10pm to facilitate those who wish to check in on the Blues Trail or mosey on down to the Marquee.

The Blues Trail: No festival can be complete without the support from the seven venues in town who are the partners in bringing this festival together. Entry to any of these venues is free of charge. Nearly 40 gigs will be played at these venues by the time we head to work on Monday the 5th. The Blues Trail bands are: Dana Dixon Band, Edinburgh, Scotland, Wildcards, South Devon, England, Dr Brown & the Groovecats, Newcastle, Gráinne Duffy Band, Monaghan, Norman Beaker Band, Manchester, England, The Robin BiBi Band, London, England, Ronnie Greer Band, Antrim, Ireland, River Devils, Edinburgh, Scotland, The Roy Fulton Band, Belfast, Blues Jam, Monaghan.