11th Annual Blues Festival June 11th, 2022 Springfield MO

The Bands - 2021

Samantha Fish

After launching her recording career in 2009, Samantha Fish quickly established herself as a rising star in the contemporary blues world. Since then, the charismatic young singer-guitarist-songwriter has earned a reputation as a rising guitar hero and powerful live performer, while releasing a series of acclaimed albums that have shown her restless creative spirit consistently taking her in new and exciting musical directions.

The New York Times called Fish “an impressive blues guitarist who sings with sweet power” and “one of the genre’s most promising young talents.” Her hometown paper The Kansas City Star noted, “Samantha Fish has kicked down the door of the patriarchal blues club” and observed that the young artist “displays more imagination and creativity than some blues veterans exhibit over the course of their careers.”

Sister Lucille Band

Hailing from Southwest Missouri and deeply inspired by the musical legacy of Memphis, Sister Lucille has turned the worlds of Blues, Roots and Soul on their collective head and created their own genre –  Memphunk! Led by Kimberly Dill’s power-packed vocals and Jamie Holdren’s searing guitar work, the band’s head-turning live performances have been winning them fans across the south since forming the band in 2014. The spotlight has continued to shine brighter and brighter on the foursome as they advanced to the semi finals of the 2015 International Blues Challenge, and were voted “Most Promising New Artist” at the 31st Music Pioneer Awards in Memphis in 2016. Now, their debut album, Alive, sets that Memphunk template in stone with 11 tracks that touch your heart, stir your soul and shake your booty – often all at once!

Kimberly started her music career in the early ’90s singing Country music, eventually recording at the legendary Hilltop Studios in Nashville (with the equally legendary Brent Mason on guitar). That led to performing at both the Ryman Auditorium and the Grand Ole Opry opening for the iconic Kitty Wells and Jack Greene. But as time went by she found herself falling in love with old Blues/Roots standards, and the lure of the Blues put Country in the rearview mirror as a new musical direction took hold. Jamie Holdren got his first guitar at six years old and by his early teens was playing in local bands and on his way to becoming an accomplished songwriter. His skills eventually brought national touring offers but he opted to remain in Missouri to raise a family. Nearly two decades later, with an adult son now on his own, he and Kimberly fell in love hard and fast for the Memphis music scene. With a new fire eager to be stoked, Jamie rekindled his passion for guitar. He and Kimberly found themselves immersed in the Blues/Roots world and, soon after, Sister Lucille was born. After a few early lineup changes they settled in with the dynamic duo of Eric Gunn on bass and Kevin Lyons on drums, two musicians whose synergy from playing together for over 20 years creates an undeniably infectious groove. They are Sister Lucille and they are Memphunk to the BONE!

Jeremiah Johnson

Born and raised in St. Louis, Jeremiah Johnson is the voice of Mississippi River blues blending with the struggles of everyday life. He began learning guitar at age 6, drawing inspiration from his rich St. Louis blues heritage and legendary guitarists, like Alvin Lee, Eric Clapton and Hank Williams Sr. and Jr. With these influences, Johnson began building his musical foundation.

Jeremiah Johnson blends the sounds of the south, with Mississippi River blues and a touch of country flair. Emotionally charged southern blues rock, powered by the common man’s passion for life and all the struggles in-between. Songs with meaning, a powerfully persuasive voice and master class musicianship. “Unemployed Highly Annoyed” has caught lightning in a bottle with this masterful snapshot of these difficult times and is truly a testament to his talent. Possibly the best record of Johnsons career, born from the most challenging time in his life as a musician.

Ben Miller Band

"I LIKE THE IDEA OF SAYING SOMETHING VERY COMPLICATED IN A VERY SIMPLE WAY," BEN MILLER STATES. "THAT'S WHAT WE STRIVE FOR MUSICALLY, AND WHAT I STRIVE FOR LYRICALLY—TO GET DIRECTLY TO THE POINT."

GETTING TO THE POINT IS SOMETHING THAT THE BEN MILLER BAND DOES CONSISTENTLY ON CHOKE CHERRY TREE, THE JOPLIN, MISSOURI-BRED COMBO'S THIRD ALBUM AND SECOND NEW WEST RELEASE. THE CONSISTENTLY COMPELLING SET OFFERS 11 NEW EXAMPLES OF MILLER'S DECEPTIVELY UNPRETENTIOUS SONGCRAFT, BENEATH WHOSE RAMSHACKLE EXTERIOR LURKS STURDY, INFECTIOUS MELODIES AND RESONANT, EMOTIONALLY INSIGHTFUL LYRICS.

MILLER'S BAND DELIVERS SUCH MEMORABLE NEW TUNES AS "NOTHING GETS ME DOWN," "AKIRA KUROSAWA," "TRAPEZE," "LIGHTHOUSE" AND "MISSISSIPPI CURE" WITH THE SORT OF UNPRETENTIOUS ENTHUSIASM THAT'S ALREADY WON THE GROUP A DEVOTED FAN BASE THAT STRETCHES FROM THE BAND'S MIDWESTERN HOME TURF TO THE U.K. AND EUROPE, WHERE THEY'VE TOURED TO RAVE REVIEWS.

CHOKE CHERRY TREE INTRODUCES A RETOOLED BEN MILLER BAND LINEUP, WITH MILLER AND FELLOW FOUNDING MEMBER SCOTT LEEPER JOINED BY NEW ADDITIONS RACHEL AMMONS AND SMILIN' BOB LEWIS. THE PAIR'S MULTI-INSTRUMENTAL SKILLS BRING ADDED AUTHORITY TO MILLER'S ROOTSY NEW COMPOSITIONS, WHILE MAINTAINING THE HIGH ENERGY LEVEL (COMPLETE WITH HOMEMADE INSTRUMENTS CONSTRUCTED FROM BROKEN AND DISCARDED AXES) THAT ORIGINALLY ENDEARED THE BAND TO ITS FANS. ELSEWHERE, RACHEL AMMONS' EXPRESSIVE VOCALS LEND DEPTH TO THE HAUNTING "REDWING BLACKBIRD."