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This year's Boise Blues Festival has a definite reunion theme, as we celebrate our 25th year of bringing the blues to Boise and Southern Idaho. Boise Blues Society was founded in 1992, the first "summer picnic" came during the first year, and the organization has been around playing and presenting the blues in Treasure Valley ever since. In 2015, the summer picnic became the Boise Blues Festival.
Our 2017 festival includes the return of 3 of our most crowd-pleasing touring musicians of recent years, 2 of Boise's most popular local blues bands, and an 85-year-old Mississippi blues icon who's been playing and singing the blues for more than 70 years. You can't get much more blues history than that!
Headlining the fesitval is modern day blues icon CURTIS SALGADO, the man who inspired the original Blues Brothers. Salgado returns to Boise after his sold-out show in June 2016. This award-winning vocalist/harmonicist/songwriter sings and plays with soulful authority, never giving less than 100 percent. With a career spanning forty years, Salgado is a one-of-a-kind talent whose music is as compelling as his story. From co-fronting The Robert Cray Band to leading his own band (and recording nine solo albums) to helping transform John Belushi into "Joliet" Jake Blues to touring the country with Santana, he is a true musical giant. Salgado is once again nominated for several blues awards this year, including soul-blues artist of the year, album of the year and song of the year, all by The Blues Foundation.
The LISA MANN BAND sold out the Sapphire Room in 2015 for one of our most well-received shows ever, and returned to Treasure Valley for last summer's Blues & Bones event. Lisa is a multi-award winning bass player and powerful vocalist who always brings down the house! Many of our fans have been asking to see her again, so we're bringing her and her Really Good Band (that's what they're called) back for the Festival.
JOHNNY RAWLS also had a sold out audience jumping all during his show at the Playhouse in March 2016, so we brought him back to the Playhouse this March and also asked him to be part of the reunion Festival. He's backed up again by Boise's popular ensemble SMOOTH AVENUE, fronted by JT, who continually sell out their own shows throughout the Valley. Rawls, who is nominated for many blues awards year after year, is considered one of the finest entertainers in the blues world.
Another mega-popular Boise band, THE BLUES ADDICTS, will open the Festival, joined by their frequent guests THE BRASS TACKS horn section. The Blues Addicts with Brass Tacks headlined this year's BBS Fat Tuesday event in February, and we're thrilled to have them return to the Festival. A talented blues-rock and new blues outfit, this band always has its legion of fans dancing throughout the show to classic tracks.
LEO "BUD" WELCH began playing blues guitar in 1945 at the age of 13. He's been called the last of the original Mississippi Delta guitarists. By 1947 at age 15, Bud could play well enough to perform publicly and garnered the blessing of many elder guitar players. He was offered an audition by BB King but couldn't afford the trip to Memphis. So he continued to play locally and for friends and family for decades, while working other jobs, including 35 years as a logger. Years after retiring from that, he was finally "discovered" by the greater blues world in 2013 at the age of 81, releasing his first album and beginning to appear nationally and even internationally. We're honored to have him come to Boise and our 25th Festival.