Saturday, April 13 / 2:00 p.m.
WDIY 88.1 FM presents Blues at The Inn
BIG SAM’S FUNKY NATION
plus SLAM ALLEN’S TRIBUTE TO JAMES COTTON
featuring STEVE GUYGER, RENE CARLSON, MIKEY JUNIOR
DoubleTree by Hilton Reading / Grand Ballroom
Tickets: $49 (General Admission)
When you think of New Orleans, the city’s foremost flambeaux-lit traditions of Mardi Gras, Bourbon Street, voodoo, Po’ boys, beads, gumbo and second line undoubtedly come to mind. You can also count Big Sam’s Funky Nation among those New Orleans treasures.
Known for a boisterous blend of funk, jazz, rock and hip-hop, nothing short of seismic live experiences and a whole lot of Southern charm, Big Sam’s Funky Nation might very well be The Big Easy’s best kept secret.
The frontman, trombonist Sammie “Big Sam” Williams, personally draws on over two decades in the game, spanning everything from 300 shows per year during his days in Dirty Dozen Brass Band and gigs backing up Widespread Panic and Dave Matthews Band to recording and touring with Allen Toussaint and Elvis Costello. Additionally, he would be sought out for a recurring role on the critically acclaimed HBO series Treme.
The band’s latest album is Songs in the Key of Funk.
With his huge, blast-furnace sound, larger-than-life personality and massive frame, Grammy Award-wining harmonica master James “Superharp” Cotton, who died in 2017, was a blues giant in every respect.
Many of Cotton’s lasting early contributions came during his first tenure with Muddy Waters in Chicago, where from 1954 to 1966 he played in a band that included guitarist Jimmy Rogers and pianist Otis Spann. Often heard in close call and response with Waters’ deep, declamatory vocals, Cotton’s squalling harmonica animated dozens of recordings Waters made for the influential Chess label.
Slam Allen perfected his already refined entertainer persona in James Cotton’s Blues Band, with which he toured for nine years – first as rhythm guitarist, then as lead guitarist and eventually bandleader. In September 2010 Cotton’s album Giant with Allen as bandleader was released by Alligator Records and nominated for a Grammy.
“Playing with Cotton was such a great experience for me,” says Allen. “There are things I learned from him that you can’t learn from any school. It was a great honor.”
Allen has an uncanny ability to hook an audience with his good-time vibe and energetic performances. Slam is more than a singer, songwriter and guitarist, he connects with audiences like Otis Redding, B.B. King, Albert and Freddie King did.
With six CDs to his credit, Allen crisscrosses the globe playing festivals from Argentina to New York, from Italy to Florida, from Switzerland to Chicago, and beyond.
Philadelphia is home to one of the finest blues harp players in the world. Over the past 40-plus years, 2009 Handy Award nominee Steve Guyger has been dishing out some of the finest blues to be heard anywhere. Whether in a duo, trio, or with his band, The Excellos, Guyger always rocks the house.
The harmonica truly is an expressive and intimate instrument. Rene Carlson understands that. She puts her heart and soul into every note she plays, bringing brightness and liveliness to her music in a manner that is truly unique.
Mikey Junior’s amazing skills on diatonic and chromatic harmonicas combined with muscular vocals make him an exciting presence on today’s blues scene. His infectious personality and absolute command of his medium leave little doubt the blues is in good hands with his.