Mindi Abair & The Boneshakeres

Christone “Kingfish” Ingram, Vanessa Collier, Rob Paparozzi & The Ed Palermo Big Band, Robben Ford, Mindi Abair & The Boneshakers, Victor Wainwright & The Train, Deanna Bogart, Toronzo Cannon, Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, Albert Castiglia, John Primer, and The Nick Moss Band featuring Dennis Gruenling headline the third annual Reading Blues Fest as presented by the Berks Arts Council Nov. 22 through Nov. 24 primarily at the DoubleTree by Hilton Reading.

Once a generation a blues artist comes along who not only reminds mainstream audiences how deeply satisfying and emotionally moving the best blues music can be but shakes the genre to its core.

With both eyes on the future and the blues in his blood, 20-year-old guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Christone “Kingfish” Ingram is taking the music world by storm. Ingram is being hailed not only by major publications as “the future of the blues” but by the legendary Buddy Guy who says, “Kingfish is the next explosion of the blues.”

Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Multi-talented Vanessa Collier is an in-demand artist, bringing her charismatic charm, passionate and fiery performances, soulful voice, searing saxophone solos and witty songwriting to the stage. She won the 2019 Blues Music Award for Instrumentalist – Horn.

Ingram and Collier perform on Friday, Nov. 22, at the DoubleTree Grand Ballroom with Collier taking the stage at 8 p.m. and Ingram at 9:30 p.m.

Rob Paparozzi & The Ed Palermo Big Band featuring special guest Robben Ford celebrate the music of Paul Butterfield on Saturday, Nov. 23, at 2 p.m. at the DoubleTree Grand Ballroom

Paparozzi and the Palermo band recorded an epic tribute to Paul Butterfield with their live album Electric Butter in 2014.

Singer/harmonica player Rob Paparozzi has been playing the blues since 1967. But he is far from being strictly a blues musician. In fact, he is at home playing a wide range of music, ranging from rock to blues to jazz to pop.

Saxophonist Ed Palermo’s Big Band, which has been active for over 30 years, plays the blues of Paul Butterfield, Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix or one of Palermo’s compositions, loaded with lush turns and unexpected twists.

Robben Ford is one of the premier electric guitarists today, particularly known for his blues playing, creativity and emotion. Robben and The Ford Blues Band made a memorable CD entitled A Tribute to Paul Butterfeld.

Victor Wainwright

Saxophonist/vocalist Mindi Abair has been entertaining audiences with her dynamic live performances across genres for years. In recent years she has been performing and recording with The Boneshakers — founder/guitarist/vocalist Randy Jacobs, keyboardist Rodney Lee, bassist/vocalist Ben White and drummer/vocalist Third Richardson — to create their own brand of blues rock.

Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers featuring Berks Horns’ Mike Anderson on saxophone, Rob Diener on trumpet and John Loos on trombone perform on Saturday, Nov. 23, at 9:45 p.m. at the DoubleTree Grand Ballroom. Victor Wainwright & The Train open that night at 8. Wainwright, a composer, producer, vocalist and piano player, is a raucous high-octane, dynamic performer and crowd pleaser with soul to spare.

The Deanna Bogart Band plus Toronzo Cannon plus Rick Estrin & The Nightcats give the festival a rousing three-concert finale on Sunday, Nov. 24, at the DoubleTree Grand Ballroom.

Deanna Bogart, who opens at noon, is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist and multifaceted musician whose fans value the diversity of her genre-free zone.  As a singer/pianist/sax player, Bogart combines the best of boogie-woogie, contemporary blues, country and jazz into a splendid blend she calls “blusion.”

Since the 2016 release of his Alligator Records debut The Chicago Way, contemporary blues guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Toronzo Cannon, who performs at 1:45 p.m., has burst onto the international stage as one of Chicago’s — and the world’s — most acclaimed next generation bluesmen.

John Primer

He has earned his fame through the overwhelming response to his album, the sheer force of his music, his original songs and his live charisma. Since the CD’s release, he has played major cities all over the U.S., Canada and Europe, delivering one hard-rocking performance after another. 

With his wily and unforgettable original songs and his hipster, street-smart vocals, no one on the blues scene writes or sings like Rick Estrin, who performs at 3:30 p.m. Years of worldwide touring and a series of critically acclaimed recordings have earned Estrin five Blues Music Awards.

The full band, Rick Estrin & the Nightcats, was the 2018 Blues Music Awards Band of the Year.

The Nick Moss Band featuring Dennis Gruenling and the Berks Horns perform on Friday, Nov. 22, at 6 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. (Blues Jam) at the Crossroads at DoubleTree.

Chicago guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Nick Moss, who won the 2019 Blues Music Award for Traditional Blues Male Artist of the Year, is a 30-year veteran of the city’s take-no-prisoners blues scene. Dennis Gruenling, who won the 2019 Blues Music Award for Instrumentalist – Harmonica, is considered among today’s best blues harmonica players. His high-energy, full-throttle playing has earned him comparisons to the late James Cotton.

Recording together for the first time, The Nick Moss Band featuring Dennis Gruenling made their Alligator Records debut in 2018 with The High Cost Of Low Living, a dream come true for both musicians.

Singer, songwriter and guitarist extraordinaire Albert Castiglia performs on Saturday, Nov. 23, at noon at the Crossroads at DoubleTree. With his latest album, the aptly named Masterpiece, he celebrates an unforeseen triumph — a connection with a daughter he never knew he had.

Vanessa Collier

As the bandleader and lead guitarist for Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon and Magic Slim & The Teardrops, John Primer’s virtuosity as a blues musician was forged by legends. Primer has played or recorded with a who’s who of blues greats including Gary Clark Jr., Derek Trucks, Johnny Winter and Buddy Guy.

With his strong traditionalist blues phrasing, seasoned rhythm and blues vocals and lightning-fast slide guitar techniques, few artists can match him. And none have his vast, real deal, blues history. Find out why you can’t paint the blues without the Primer on Saturday, Nov. 23, at 6 p.m. and 11:30 p.m. (Blues Jam) at the Crossroads at DoubleTree.

The James Supra & Sarah Ayers Quartet entertains at the Blues Party @ Cheers on Friday, Nov. 22, and Saturday, Nov. 23, both at 9:30 p.m. The quartet features Lehigh Valley artists Sarah Ayers on vocals, James Supra on vocals and harmonica, Lou Franco on acoustic guitars and vocals and Mitch Shelly on acoustic upright bass.

Dave Hinkel & The Crew perform on Friday, Nov. 22, at 4:30 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 23, at 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. at the Double Trouble BBQ.

The Dave Mell Blues Band, which performs on Saturday, Nov. 23, at 7 p.m. at the Peanut Bar Restaurant, is known for its unique arrangements and original interpretations of all styles of blues, classic rock and R&B plus originals. The band entertains visually and aurally with passion and intensity, making the group a stalwart on the local and regional club scene.

There are two special blues film screenings at the DoubleTree Amphitheater hosted by Michael Cloeren, the creator and/or producer of over 80 festivals since 1991.

“Horn From The Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story” is Saturday, Nov. 23, at 10 a.m. As its title implies, it is a feature-length documentary about the life and career of legendary blues musician Paul Butterfield.

“Satan & Adam” chronicles the unlikely pairing of legendary one-man-band Sterling “Mr. Satan” Magee and harmonica master Adam Gussow. It screens on Sunday, Nov. 24, at 10 a.m.

For ticket information and artist profiles, please visit www.readingbluesfest.com

Through the creation and support of varying arts events, community collaborations and grants, the Berks Arts Council positively impacts our community cultural and economic well-being.
The mission of the Berks Arts Council is to inspire, unite and grow our community through arts collaboration, education and presentations. Our vision is to support community and economic growth, promote positive change and create a more connected community.
Today, in everything the Berks Arts Council does and supports, we seek to make Berks County, PA a more creative, more desirable and a more resilient community.
Visit www.BerksArts.org for more information.