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Saturday, July 2nd, 23:30

James Harman - harp, vocals
Junior Watson - guitar
James Harman "Sax" Gordon Beadle - tenorsax
Toni Lynn Washington - vocals
Marty Ballou - bass
Stephen Hodges - drums
Bruce Bears - hammond b3 organ & piano


Click here for the websites of..
James Harman.. www.jamesharman.com
Junior Watson.. www.juniorwatson.com
"Sax" Gordon Beadle.. www.saxgordon.com
Toni Lynn Washington.. http://armarm.com/tonilynnwashington/


James Harman lives in southern California, but his music clearly reflects his southeastern roots. Born in 1946 in Anniston, Ala., to musical parents, Harman began piano lessons at age four and sang in the church choir. His father's Hohner harmonicas were in the piano bench, and he would play them after his piano lessons. He experimented with other instruments as well, including guitar, organ, bass and drums, performing solo and with family members at dances and country suppers. He found the blues early in life, both on black radio and on the street corner: "Radio" Johnson, a local blind street singer who played slide guitar with a knife, was an early influence and collaborator.

Harman's professional career began in 1962 after moving to Panama City, Fla. Soon after the move, he discovered like-minded friends, who invited him to black nightclubs to see such performers as Little Junior Parker, Jimmy Reed, Little Milton Campbell, Slim Harpo, Bobby Bland, O.V. Wright, B.B. King, Otis Redding, Solomon Burke, Joe Tex and James Carr. He began hanging out on a regular basis and was eventually asked to sit in by local house bands, becoming known as "that boy who sings like a man." Encouraged by this acceptance, Harman launched the first of his many rhythm 'n' blues ensembles, using such names as King James and the Royals; Snakedoctor; Disciples of Soul; Disciples of Blues; The Disciples; Voo Doo Daddy; Soul Senders; Pieces of Eight; Kingsnakes; and finally, The Icehouse Blues Band.

The buzz surrounding James' live shows attracted talent scouts from several southern record companies. Earl Caldwell, manager of the Swinging Medallions, signed Harman and took him to the Ken-Tel recording studio on Peachtree Street in Atlanta, GA. In 1964, 18-year-old James cut the first of nine regional 45 RPM singles that would appear on five different labels and put him on the road. James toured the eastern half of the country for the rest of the decade, playing radio station dances, fraternity parties, nightclubs, college concerts, after-hours joints, striptease parlors, bottle clubs (in which Harman would play all night, literally, performing six to eight sets of music) and honky tonks. When he wasn't headlining his own show, he was opening for and/or backing the top R&B artists of the day.

The James Harman Band has been a touchstone for notable players, including Phil Alvin and Bill Bateman, who left in 1978 to form the Blasters; "Piano Gene" Taylor, who left in 1981, also to join the Blasters before moving on to the Fabulous Thunderbirds; and David "Kid" Ramos. Ramos played 10 years with Harman, retiring in 1988, return to the blues as guitarist for the Fabulous Thunderbirds, for a time. Alumni also include the late Michael "Hollywood Fats" Mann, who played five years with James after leaving his own band in 1980; multi-instrumentalist session man and tunesmith Jeff Turmes played saxophones with James for years, switching to the bass for six more years beginning in 1988. Alumni drummers include Richard Innes, Stephen T. Hodges and Steve Mugalian and Paul Fasulo to name a few. Along the way, Harman's own production company: Icepick Productions, has generated more than a dozen releases to add to the fifteen he had released before using his own name. These twenty nine releases are the fruit of his forty plus year career, at this point. While Harman continues to perform and record, he also is working on several projects as a producer, a venture that involves longtime production partner Jerry Hall. The pair has worked together since 1971. Hall has engineered every track of every Harman release since that time, and together the pair has produced many other artists.
Harman has performed live shows in 18 countries, as many as 250 dates per year, including appearances at such North American festivals as the Long Beach Blues Festival, the New York State Blues Festival, the Kansas City Blues and Jazz Heritage Festival, the King Biscuit Festival in Helena, AR, the Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle, the Bayfront Blues Festival in Duluth, MN, the Waterfront Festival in Portland, OR, the Edmonton (Canada) Blues Festival, and other festivals from Montreal to Mexico City. Abroad, Harman has appeared at the Peer and Spring Blues Festivals in Belgium, the Notodden and Hell Festivals in Norway, the Great Britain R&B Festival in Colne, England, the Milano and Pistoia Festivals in Italy and the Bayron Bay Festival in Australia, to name a few.

In more than four decades of touring and recording, Harman has staked his claim as an original, legitimate blues artist, musician and producer. In his recordings and live performances, James creates music that stands out as unique and personal yet clearly reflects his passion for the roots of the blues. Harman learned a key secret years ago: You have to develop your own approach and identity in order to have lasting success. As vocalist, musician and songwriter, James Harman chronicles life with energy, wit and humor. He has a novelist's eye for detail and irony, and the result is well-conceived music that stands the test of time. Harman's roots are apparent in his recordings and live performances. He is a disciple of the classic qualities of the Southern blues tradition. Still, like his mentors, Harman is telling his own stories. He knows the difference between innovation and imitation, and his own character as a blues artist is fully reflected in his work. In all cases, he remains true to his credo: Strictly the blues.

Junior Watson With nearly thirty years of experience, Junior Watson has reached cult status. Junior has done what all great artists have done: melting diverse styles to create a style all his own. With influences as diverse as Tiny Grimes, Oscar Moore, Bill Jennings, Rene Hall, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Jimmy Rogers, Eddie Taylor, Guitar Slim, Earl Hooker and others he has truly created one of the most unique and original guitar voices to come along in years. Besides his mastery of blues and swing he often adds his own cartoon-like twist to everything he plays. You'll never know what he will do and when asked he doesn't know himself. His energy and playing gives you a feeling of reckless abandonment. As he was once quoted "like a train off the tracks".

His artist resume is as large as it is impressive. A founding member of The Mighty Flyers he stayed with the band for ten years. He then left to join Canned Heat for ten years. He then toured for a while with LA-based harmonica player/vocalist Lynwood Slim. All along the way he has backed up and recorded with the who's-who of the blues. His list of musical endeavors include backing up and recording with Big Mama Thorton, George Smith, Jimmy Rogers, Shakey Jake, Luther Tucker, Charlie Musselwhite, Kim Wilson, William Clark and there's more. Suffice to say the list is very extensive.

In the past Junior has always been the sideman or featured artist. For the first time in his career he has a band that is taking the back seat and having Junior do all the driving. For the first time you can hear this amazing, original artist wail all night long. This fact alone is exciting and when unleashed, Junior will prove to the rest of the blues community what his cult status is all about.

"Sax" Gordon Beadle"SAX" GORDON BEADLE
"Sax" Gordon Beadle was born in Detroit in 1965. He gained his first musical experiences in Northern California with combos and big bands in the Sacramento area, eventually performing and recording with Bay Area Blues giant Johnny Heartsman before leaving for the east coast. Early on Gordon established a reputation for his hard-blowing, gutsy sax style and his ability to excite an audience.

Since coming to Boston, Gordon has become one of the most sought-after saxophonists in his field, both in recording studios and in clubs and concert halls worldwide. He's been featured as a soloist on both the tours and recordings of such highly- respected artists as Duke Robillard, Jay McShann, Matt "Guitar" Murphy, Jimmy Witherspoon, Luther "Guitar Jr." Johnson, and Roomful of Blues. His flamboyant solos have appeared on award-winning recordings by such legendary R&B pioneers as Jimmy McGriff, Champion Jack Dupree, Rosco Gordon, Pinetop Perkins, Jimmy "T99" Nelson, Billy Boy Arnold and Charles Brown, and Gordon has been called upon to play live with many of the great artists of Blues, Jazz, and Soul, including Solomon Burke, Little Milton, Johnny Copeland, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Herb Ellis, Ben E. King, Keely Smith, Howard Tate, Martha Reeves, Junior Wells, Mighty Sam McClain, Charlie Musselwhite, Reuben Wilson & the Masters of Groove (featuring Grant Green Jr. & Bernard Purdie), Johnny Johnson, James Cotton, Sam Moore (of Sam & Dave), Hubert Sumlin, Big Jay McNeely, Sherman Robertson, Junior Watson, and John Hammond.

Toni Lynn Washington is one of the finest singers in the blues. Her 1995 Tone-Cool debut, Blues at Midnight, garnered widespread rave reviews and earned her nominations at the 1996 and 1997 WC Handy Awards - the industry's recognition of Toni Lynn's rightful place among the elite of female blues and R&B singers.

This may seem like an overnight success for an artist releasing her debut cd, but Toni Lynn Washington is no newcomer to the national scene. Her career spans four decades and provides a direct link to the history of R&B, including tours and performances with some of the music's giants.
Like all the great singers, Toni Lynn makes each song her on, whether it's a low-down blues, a jazz or R&B standard, or a new composition from her or one of her band members. Toni Lynn's music always radiates with powerful, emotional and sensual vocals that transport you to a special, soulful place. As Boston Magazine so aptly put it, "she will make you melt." Toni Lynn was born in Southern Pines, North Carolina where she first started singing in the local church gospel choir. Her family soon moved to Boston where her mother began bringing the underage Toni Lynn to sing at night clubs like the Hi Hat, Louis' Lounge, the Big M and the Palace during the 1950s. At 18, she married and moved to New Orleans where she began working with pianist and arranger Edward Frank, known for his work with Smiley Lewis and Bobby Bland. Toni Lynn and Frank were signed to the Kon-Ti label, a subsidiary of Atlantic, and recorded "Dear Diary," which became a top-50 hit single.

Off of her commercial success, Toni Lynn toured the chitlin circuit, often sharing the stage with the founders and legends of R&B including Jackie Wilson and Sam and Dave. After relocating to Florida, she continued to play the circuit and embarked on a USO tour of army and navy bases. In the early 1970's, Toni Lynn moved to Los Angeles to join a band called Sound of the 70's, whose success led to a performance on the Steve Allen Show and a USO tour of Vietnam, Japan and the Far East. After their break-up in the late 1970's, Toni Lynn moved back east before forming Sister's Love, with three former Raelettes.

In the early 1980's, Toni Lynn moved to Boston, where she performed with several local R&B bands before doing a stint with keyboardist Bruce Bears in a band called Boston Baked Blues. After witnessing Toni Lynn's remarkable talents, Bruce quickly became her musical director and together they formed the Toni Lynn Washington Band in 1992. With some of the city's finest musicians - featuring Bruce on keyboards, Tim Gearan on guitar, Paul Ahlstrand and Rob Lee on horns, Craig Macintyre on drums, and Lou Wallach on bass - the Toni Lynn Washington Band tightened their sound and material in the local blues and jazz clubs and quickly solidified their reputation as one of the best blues and R&B bands around. With the release of Blues at Midnight in 1995, the band burst onto the national blues and R&B scene and Toni Lynn gracefully stepped into the spotlight as one of the true great vocal treasures in the blues.

Toni Lynn Washington's turn has come. After Blues at Midnight was nominated as a finalist for Soul Album of the Year at the 1996 NAIRD Awards, Toni Lynn was nominated as Soul/Blues Album of the Year at the 1996 WC Handy Awards and once again as Contemporary Blues-Female Artist of the Year at the 1997 WC Handy Awards. It's My Turn Now is her triumphant return, showcasing Toni Lynn's magnificent vocals over tight and soulful arrangements of original songs, blues, and R&B. Toni Lynn has paid her dues and come out smiling at the top of her form. And it's clearly her turn now.



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