2016 was the inaugural Blues on Water Street event. Billed as a promotion and lead up to Blues on the Fox, Blues on Water Street was a resounding success in its own right, featuring the dapper workman of the Chicago Blues scene, Toronzo Cannon, hot off his Alligator Records release. The Fox Valley Music Foundation, together with the Water Street Studios and Batavia Main Street, is at it again, and the line up is set! And it’s even better than last year! Mark those calendars for Saturday, June 10 … the 2017 Blues and Roots on Water Street fest!
Wayne Baker Brooks will headline the Blues Stage, bringing Chicago Blues royalty out to Water Street in Batavia. Wayne Baker Brooks was born to play the blues, laying down rhythm tracks for his father, Lonnie Brooks, in the studio when he was still in grade school. Wayne Baker Brooks has roots back to Muddy Waters and Buddy Guy. He is authentic Chicago Blues with his own infusion of modern music styling that is taking Chicago Blues into the future.
The band, Leland, will set the stage for Wayne Baker Brooks on the Blues Stage. This group of frighteningly talented musicians came together for one purpose: to embark on a recording sojourn to recreate songs from the historic Leland Tower recordings in the 1930’s. That sojourn produced a CD and vinyl album produced by Steve Warrenfeltz and Scott Tipping for Sky Club Records, an appearance at the 20th anniversary show of Blues on the Fox, and the sold out The Leland Bluebird Sessions Record Release Show at the Copely Theater on February 18th, 2017. Blues on Water Street 2017 will be an encore show featuring the ladies of Leland.
Fox Valley’s own, Noah Gabriel, will kick off the Blues Stage. Noah will be hot off the heels of his latest record release playing “his own blend of amiable roots-rock that pulls equally from fiery blues of Stevie Ray Vaughn or BB King and wry folk witticisms a la Lucinda Williams or Ryan Adams”. Noah has been a prolific songwriter who gets better and better with age and never disappoints a live audience.
Headlining on the Roots Stage in Kiss the Sky is Jonas Friddle and the Majority, an Indie Folk Rock band out of Chicago, IL. The group is an amalgam of banjo, horns, strings, drums, keys, bass and electric guitar. Jonas Friddle’s songwriting has garnered national attention, including Song of the Year from The John Lennon Songwriting Competition, First Place in the Great American Song Contest and a nomination for Album of the Year in the Independent Music Awards. The band has a close relationship with Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music. Its sound draws from “the deep well of American Roots music”.
Also performing on the Roots Stage is The Leadfoot Band. The Leadfoot Band, described as “Chicago bluegrass” and “post-bluegrass”, draw their inspiration from the likes of Hank Williams, Sam Bush as well as Metallica, Split Lip Rayfield and Lou Reed. They are “a smokin’ blend of styles” with “with tasty grooves and lightning-fast delivery”.
The Roots Stage will kick off with Chicago Farmer, Cody Diekhoff. Toded Snider calls him “the genuine heir to Arlo Guthrie or Ramblin’ Jack Elliott” delivering lyrically driven, politically and socially charged 21st Century folk songs in the best Americana tradition. He has been called “a working man’s singer/songwriter” with a “commanding poetic voice and passion behind his storytelling.” According to the Chicago Acoustic Underground.