Bluestem Ames, Live Music Venue

Laura Rain and the Caesars

Location: 3329 Lincoln Way
Venue: Bluestem Stage
Time: 730 - 10
Price: student $15/ adult $18

Blues Blast Magazine-
One glance at the lovely, intense goddess peering majestically from the cover of this CD will tell you that Laura Rain and the Caesars, her tight three-piece ensemble from Detriot, mean business. From the first note, they don’t disappoint as they deliver some of the finest soul blues rolling out of Motor City in years.

A powerful vocalist who’s split her time between Michigan and Los Angeles during the past decade, Laura possesses an electrifying vocal range that might remind some listeners of an early Aretha Franklin. She and guitarist George Friend, who’s spent time with Janiva Magness, the Soul Messengers and rockabilly legend Robert Gordon, composed all of the material you’ll hear here with one foot squarely in the ‘60s or ‘70s, the golden age of American R&B.

Billing themselves as a retro soul band with one previous disc to their credit, they’re joined by keyboardist/bass player Phil Hale, a veteran of Martha Reeves’ and George Clinton’s bands, and percussionist Ron Pangborn for this ultra-tight red-hot set. They’re aided by several guest artists, including: Rick Beamon, Todd Glass and Terry Thunder (drums), Sheila Hale (tambourine), Jim Simonson and Leon Powell (bass), Duncan McMillan (organ), Johnny Evans (saxophone) and John Douglas (trumpet).

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/laura-rain-and-the-caesars-tickets-18481510696

Willy Porter & Carmen Nickerson with Andy Goessling

Location: Bluestem
When: SATURDAY APRIL 9TH 2016
Doors: 7:30
Show: 8PM – 11PM
Tickets: $20
We are doing a repeat of last year’s outstanding show!

Willy Porter & Carmen Nickerson with Andy Goessling!

Get your tickets early!

“Willy Porter is perhaps best known as a down tuned six string wonder, but as a singer and a writer, and as a showman, he merits equal regard.“ — Puremusic.com

“Thank goodness he doesn’t play the flute.“ — Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull

“Porter is a dazzling acoustic guitarist with a moody baritone…“ — The Washington Post

“Willy plays rhythms that make me want to crawl inside his guitar and sleep there forever.“ — Tori Amos

Andy Goessling: A founding member of the Americana band, Railroad Earth, Andy plays acoustic guitar, mandolin, dobro, banjo, reeds, penny whistle, and recorder. HIs other projects are The Shockenaw Mountain Boys, an acoustic bluegrass outfit that includes other members of RRE, and the NYC- based acoustic world music band, Sleeping Bee. Andy has enjoyed a long and varied career being a part of many seminal projects in the acoustic, folk and bluegrass scenes. He has supported artists such as Garnet Rogers, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Rick Danko, Greg Brown, Richard Shindell, Vance Gilbert and many others. He has played with Allman Brothers guitarist, Warren Haynes, two of his personal Bluegrass heroes, David Bromberg and John McEuen, and Grateful Dead members Phil Lesh and Bob Weir.

Here is last year’s jam!

The Steepwater Band

Location: Bluestem
When: FRIDAY MARCH 18TH 2016
Doors: 7:30
Show: 8PM – 10:30PM
Adult Ticket: $15
Student Ticket: $12
The Steepwater Band taking Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out on Tour in Early ’16.

After two highly successful Halloween shows where The Steepwater Band performed the classic live album from The Rolling Stones “Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out”, the Chicago based group has decided to take that show on the road.

When picking a group and album for their Halloween shows, singer/guitarist Jeff Massey said “The Stones are a huge influence on our band, and ‘Get Yer Ya-Yas Out’ is complete rock n’ roll. It’s rough around the edges… it’s about attitude, the blues, big guitar riffs… it’s got some Chuck Berry & Robert Johnson, and isn’t too far off from what we do in a Steepwater show anyway.”

Drummer Joseph Winters added “Ya-Ya’s is perfect for this band. That live album in particular has a spirit and element of going to the edge. So we go out and put ourselves on that line. Then that energy of this live show gets traded back and forth between us and the crowd.”

In addition to performing “Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out” in its entirety, the band also plans to hit songs from their “Diamond Days: Best of TSB 2006-14” album that was released this past March. “It’s really fun to go from playing classic Stones songs like ‘Jumping Jack Flash’, ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ & ‘Midnight Rambler’ to our own Steepwater Band tunes like ‘High and Humble” or ‘Dance Me a Number’,” says guitarist Eric Saylors. ”It’s hard not to notice the similar vibe!”

This Winter Tour began Jan 9th in Indianapolis, Indiana, headed southeast to deep Florida, then back to the Midwest. Please visitwww.steepwater.com for ticket info, and a complete listing of the tour, as more shows will be added.

About The Steepwater Band:

Formed in Chicago back in 1998, The Steepwater Band’s signature sound is a nod to early British blues, combined with a modern, raw and gutsy musical approach.

Founding members Massey, Bowers and Winters have a synergy that comes from years of playing together. Then in early 2012, the long-time trio was joined by Saylors, from Indianapolis, IN, who brought an added depth to the TSB LIVE sound. Although the band got their start as devotees of delta blues, they have since been expanding on their influences, absorbing everything from Psychedelia to Americana, from Jazz to 50’s Rock n’ Roll Music.

The Steepwater Band has maintained a grueling schedule throughout the years, averaging about 140 shows per year. They have toured and shared the stage with acts such as Gov’t Mule, Buddy Guy, Wilco, Taj Mahal, Marc Ford, ZZ Top, T-Model Ford, North Mississippi All Stars, Leon Russell, Drive-By Truckers, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Cheap Trick, Bad Company and Heart. In 2005, the band made its European debut, performing at the Azkena Rock Festival in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain. In the following years, the band has returned to the United Kingdom and Europe for multiple club and festival tours, increasing their loyal overseas fan-base.

Davina and the Vagabonds

Location: Bluestem
When: SATURDAY DECEMBER 19TH 2015
Doors: 730 Show: 8PM – 11PM
Price: Adult: $20 Student: $16
Davina Sowers and the Vagabonds have created a stir on the national music scene with their high-energy live shows, level A musicianship, sharp-dressed professionalism, and Sowers’ commanding stage presence. With influences ranging from Fats Domino and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to Aretha Franklin and Tom Waits, the band is converting audiences one show at a time, from Vancouver to Miami and across Europe. In 2011 Davina released her first full length, all original album Black Cloud . It was named one of the 10 best releases of the year by the Minneapolis Star & Tribune and awarded 4 ½ stars from Downbeat Magazine. Their next release in 2014, Sunshine, hit number 13 in the Billboard Blues Chart and led them to be a musicial feature on the hit BBC show,Later with Jools Holland.

Press quotes:

“….one of the most distinctive and expressive vocalists to come around in a while, with tight backing from the Vagabonds” –Phoenix Blues Society

“…easily among the breakout stars at this year’s [Monterey Jazz] festival.” – Monterey Herald

“Listening to Davina & the Vagabonds is like stepping into a wondrous musical time machine. They have the panache and superlative musicianship to recreate the retro sound and ageless appeal of golden age Americana in high-definition reality on stage for your immense pleasure and enjoyment.” -Thunder Bay Blues Festival/Canada

DATV’s shows are filled with New Orleans charm, Memphis soul swagger, dark theatrical moments that evoke Kurt Weill, and tender gospel passages. Davina’s voice and stage presence defy category in a different way. Davina has been compared to Etta James, Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin, Billie Holiday and Betty Boop, but comparisons don’t suffice:Sowers is a true original.

Bringing you 100 years of American music and Davina’s originals, which lend themselves to the American Songbook, the band brings edgy nostalgia to older generations and fresh new music to younger ears. This rollicking quintet is held together by Sowers’ keyboard playing, with acoustic bass, drums, and a spicy trumpet and trombone horn section. The group’s focused, clean sound and emphasis on acoustic instruments is novel to both blues and jazz worlds, and sets the show closer to New Orleans than to Chicago. This has set the Vagabonds apart at festivals in Thunder Bay, Ontario; Sighisoara, Romania; Sierre, Switzerland; Kemi, Finland; the 2012 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and 2013 Monterey Jazz Festival ( in 2014 was asked back to play their main stage in 2014, Vache de Blues in France, and North Sea Jazz Festival. Catch this one-of-a-kind live show while they are in town!

Get your tickets early on this one. It is going to be The Show to kick off holidays with.

Alastair Greene Band

Location: Bluestem
When: SATURDAY DECEMBER 12TH 2015
Doors: 730 Show: 8PM – 11PM
Price: Adult: $15 Student: $12
Press quotes:

“This is a powerful trio of musicians that pack a lot of punch in their music! Greene tours with Alan Parsons as his guitar player. He is the real deal and this CD proves it even more!” -Blues Blast Magazine

“Alastair Greene refuses to retread blues clichés in his lyrics, he writes gripping songs with immaculately sparse arrangements and he makes every note count.”-Blues Biscuits

“Imagine a meld of Cream, Johnny Winter, The North Mississippi Allstars, Jimi Hendrix and Santana, and you will have some idea of the music laid down by the Alastair Greene Band, surely one of the finest blues-rock bands on the scene today.” -Blues In Britain

“A major talent in the blues-rock category” – Blues Music Magazine

A lot of listeners outside of southern California may not be familiar with guitarist Alastair Greene. Fans of the progressive rocker Alan Parsons will recognize Greene, who has been a member of Parson’s band for four years. On his first major release, Greene quickly proves that there is plenty of room for blues influences in his artistic vision.

People” starts things off with Greene’s soaring slide guitar licks riding the grinding rhythm supplied by Jim Rankin on bass and Austin Beede on drums. The title track kicks with a vengeance while ringing guitar chords give “First Born Son” a concert anthem feel. Greene plays some chopped chords that lead into an enthralling solo on “Pretty Price To Pay”.

Several tracks utilize standard boogie riffs with the leader ripping through a slide solo on “Back Where I Belong,” then delivering another compelling solo without the slide. ZZ Top fans will recognize the groove on “Last Train Around The Sun,” featuring one of Greene’s best vocal performances. Switching to acoustic National steel guitar on “Red Wine Woman,” Greene aptly demonstrates the depth of his understanding of the blues traditions.

Love You So Bad” is a frantic rocker complete with another familiar riff leading into blistering guitar work. Things quiet down on the lone ballad, “Calling For You,” with melodic guitar over Erik Norlander’s lush organ accompaniment. Greene’s energetic vocal sparks the Hendrix-influenced “Make The Devil Pay.” Another high point occurs on “Strange Feeling,” with Greene giving voice to suspicions that love has turned cold.

The closing tune, “The Sweetest Honey,” updates the back-door man theme, with the sheriff’s wife at the root of the problems. Greene gives one final gutty performance just as spirited as everything else on this excellent disc, marking the guitarist as a major talent in the blues-rock category.

Little Fevers

Location: Bluestem
When: SATURDAY DECEMBER 5TH 2015
Doors: 730 Show: 8PM – 11PM
Price: Adult: $12 Student: $10
Little Fevers is a sweet and crunchy amalgamation of pop rock that has formed, much like a pearl, over many years around a tiny grain of sand.

Little Fevers emerged in 2013, floating up out of the ocean to walk around on land. Comprised of two guys and two girls who, having operated as longtime collaborators, have honed their craft traveling the country together for several years.

The group is a project curated by the eyes and ears of those that sit on the same little raft, letting the sun wash over them as they paddle and splash to their next port of call. The first whispers of an album were passed back and forth, cross-country, as the parts came together to form something distinctly whole.

Much of the album was laid down at Vacation Island in Brooklyn with the remaining bits assembled at Old Blackberry Way in Minneapolis.

Invoking the playfulness of bands like Pavement and the Violent Femmes, and vocal textures of idols such as Peter Gabriel and The Microphones to form something all their own, Little Fevers will be releasing their debut album “Field Trip” Oct.9th 2015.

Steepwater with King of the Tramps

Location: Bluestem
When: SATURDAY NOVEMBER 21ST 2015
Doors: 730 Show: 8PM – 11PM
Price: Adult: $16 Student: $12

For fans of Gov’t Mule, Buddy Guy, Wilco, Taj Mahal, Marc Ford, ZZ Top, T-Model Ford, North Mississippi All Stars, Leon Russell, Drive-By Truckers, Robert Randolph & the Family Band

Formed in Chicago back in 1998, The Steepwater Band’s signature sound is a nod to early British blues, combined with a modern, raw and gutsy musical approach. Founding members Massey, Bowers and Winters have a synergy that comes from years of playing together. Then in early 2012, the long-time trio was joined by Saylors, from Indianapolis, IN, who brought an added depth to the TSB LIVE sound. Although the band got their start as devotees of delta blues, they have since been expanding on their influences, absorbing everything from Psychedelia to Americana, from Jazz to 50’s Rock n’ Roll Music.

The Steepwater Band has maintained a grueling schedule throughout the last 16 years, averaging about 140 shows per year. They have toured and shared the stage with acts such as Gov’t Mule, Buddy Guy, Wilco, Taj Mahal, Marc Ford, ZZ Top, T-Model Ford, North Mississippi All Stars, Leon Russell, Drive-By Truckers, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Cheap Trick, Bad Company and Heart.

Jambase:

Clava is ONE OF THE BEST ROCK ALBUMS TO HIT IN 2011… Nothing’s too gussied up so the honest grit and sweat of rock ‘n’ roll comes through loud and clear, and behind everything a crossroads right blues soul howls. Clava continues the group’s evolution by simply refining every promising aspect this taut trio has exhibited in the past. If you’re charged up by what The Black Keys or Black Crowes are putting down lately, there’s little doubt Clava will flip your wig big time.”

-Dennis Cook

Dirty Impound:

“…The Steepwater Band excel at slow burns throughout this set, prowling ‘round your back door and howling in a low, sexy way, swinging with the angels dancin’ around their heads and leaving blood on the floorboards. Folks enamored of Mick Taylor-era Stones, early Hendrix and The Black Keys will eat up this up with impolite gusto. It’s a great pleasure to see a band fully realize their potential as they ride into their second decade together, and Clava presents these Chicago survivors at their earthy, appealing finest.”

Trout Steak Revival with The Fiddle Chicks

Location: 3329 Lincoln Way
Venue: Bluestem Stage
Time: 8 – 11
Price: students $12/ adults $15

Winner of the 2014 Telluride Bluegrass Festival band competition.
NEW album out in spring 2015 produced by Chris Pandolfi of the Infamous Stringdusters.TSR has shared the stage with many fine artists including Infamous Stringdusters, Head for the Hills, Drew Emmitt, Steve Martin’s Steep Canyon Rangers, Mountain Standard Time, Casey Driessen and more!
Festival highlights include Sioux River Folk Fest, Winter Wonder Grass, Vail Summer Bluegrass, Mid-Winter Bluegrass, Campout for the Cause, Denver Brewgrass, Bluegrass on the Arkansas, Pagosa Folk N Bluegrass, Northwest String Summit and more!

http://sweetwinegroup.com/trout-steak-revival/
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/trout-steak-revival-with-the-fiddle-chics-tickets-18385830514

The Blackberry Bushes String Band

Location: 3329 Lincoln Way
Venue: Bluestem Stage
Time: 8 – 11
Price: $10 student/ $12 adult

Press Quotes:

“Modern acoustic group The Blackberry Bushes Stringband pairs a love for traditional genius with innovative instincts. The result is a fresh, cohesive catalog of music distinguished by playful twang, artful arrangements, and tight, thick harmonies. ”
— Northwest Music Scene

“The best folk-country warble since Victoria Williams. ”
— Yakima Herald

http://www.theblackberrybushes.com/video/

THE BLACKBERRY BUSHES ARE A NORTHWEST ACOUSTIC AMERICANA AND BLUEGRASS BAND WHOSE SOUND FALLS SOMEWHERE BETWEEN GILLIAN WELCH AND THE INFAMOUS STRINGDUSTERS. THEIR SONGS EVOKE THE NATURAL WORLD, WITH THEMES OF IMPERFECTION AND IMPERMANENCE. THE INSTRUMENTATION IS PRECISE AND IMPROVISATIONAL, REMINISCENT OF THE VIRTUOSIC BLUEGRASS GREATS. THE BUSHES HAVE THAT RARE MAGIC THAT ALLOWS THEM TO FUSE VOICES FROM MANY GENRES INTO AN ACOUSTIC INSTRUMENTATION THAT RETAINS DISTINCT THREADS OF SONIC COLOR. ELEMENTS OF JAZZ, CLASSICAL, POP, OLD-TIME AND BLUEGRASS SATURATE THIS MODERN STRING BAND SOUND THAT IS BUOYANT, BOLD, AND LIKE THEIR THORNY NAMESAKE, ROOTED AND GROWING, GROWING, GROWING.

The Appalachian Mountains are the meeting place of the fiddle and the banjo, and musical culture permeates the entire length of the Mississippi River. Jes Raymond and Jakob Breitbach may have started their musical journey in the rainy bottom of the Puget Sound, but their work is infused with the essence of the homes they wandered West from. Joined by Daniel Ullom (mandolin) ,Forrest Marowitz (upright bass), and Alex Genova (banjo), The Blackberry Bushes draw from the deep roots of American traditional music to create a playful and resonant sound with both twang and sophistication. They are emerging as a band of artists with an obvious love of performing, spot on chemistry, and a live show that truly aims to stir the spirit.

A local favorite, Rockets of Desire are opening the night.
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-blackberry-bushes-string-band-with-rockets-of-desire-tickets-18485631020

Tall Heights

Location: 3329 Lincoln Way
Venue: Bluestem Stage
Time: 8 – 11
Price: $10 students, $12 adults

“It’s a contemporary sound that is not without its ageless qualities.”
– Chicago Sun Times

“… you can trust me when I say this show is worth seeing.”
-Boston Magazine

“Folk” has become a funny label for Tall Heights. It felt right when they went all-in on a career in music, street performing over 100 days in six months to fund their first recordings. It felt right when their plucky single, “To Be Young,” worked its way into the hearts of their hometown, Boston MA, and spread to the nation on Pandora and Spotify. It felt right when they played 300+ shows in 2013 and 2014 all across the United States.
However, as sounds from their looming October ’15 EP, Holding on, Holding Out, begin to surface, Tall Heights is staying true to their harmony, cello and guitar laden souls, while creating something indie, something chic, something new.

“Tall Heights employ a collection of acoustic guitar, cello, and electronic drums, reminiscent of contemporary indie folk giants like Justin Vernon and Fleet Foxes.” – XPN

“In addition to finger-picked guitar, swelling cello and tight, prismatic vocal harmonies, ‘Spirit Cold’ boasts a bold, airy drum part that propels the song through the peaks and troughs of the arrangement.” – Wall Street Journal

“It’s a contemporary sound that is not without its ageless qualities.” – Chicago Sun Times

“Certifiably unclassifiable” – Boston Herald

“There have been many bands in recent years that have employed beautiful close harmonies, but when you add the strings and the great songwriting, Tall Heights is a notch above the pack.” – WBEZ

“Call it simply gorgeous.” – WFUV

“Tall Heights’s delicate melodies and gentle harmonies create a rare public space where the people can slow down, even stop, and suspend the chaos of city life in exchange for some really great music.” – WBUR

Andres von Kampen from Lincoln Nebrask will be opening the night. She just graduated high school and has a Beautiful voice; I promise you will fall in love with her songs.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/tall-heights-with-andrea-von-kampen-tickets-18386148465