There will be blues, brews and a whole lot of partying going on when the Untapped Blues Festival gets under way at the Benton County Fairgrounds in Kennewick.
Headlining this year's event will be Joe Louis Walker, whose music has earned a bounty of awards since he burst onto the music scene in the 1960s, including the Blues Foundation Music Awards' 2010 blues album of the year. His repertoire of sound is built around a blend of soul, blues, gospel and R&B.
Also on the roster will be Sammy Eubanks, Preston Shannon, The Sugar Thieves, The Stacy Jones Band, Billy D & the Hoodoos, Lisa Mann & Her Pretty Good Band, the C.D. Woodbury Band and the Trevalyan Triangle.
The Clover Island Inn will kick things off at 3 p.m. May 13 with a battle of the bands in the hotel's parking lot in Kennewick. Then at 7 p.m., Trevalyan Triangle and Preston Shannon bands will perform an outdoor concert, followed by C.D. Woodbury and James King & the Southsiders bands playing indoors at 10:30 p.m.
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Admission to the Clover Island shows is $10 for both the indoor and outdoor events.
On May 14, it'll be a full day of music at the fairgrounds, 1500 S. Oak St., Kennewick. Gates open at 11 a.m. with bands starting at noon and continuing until 11 p.m. Admission is $25 at the gate.
All Untapped festivities are open to the 21-and-older crowd only.
"This year's lineup is top to bottom our best," said Dave Nichols, organizer of the event. He added that Untapped is musically a mix of hot blues and cold brews.
Haven't heard of these bands? Here's a primer:
Shannon is called the king of Memphis blues because of his Southern soul and funky sound blended with blues. Shannon's raspy voice and quick fingers on the guitar strings have earned him three Grammy nominations.
The Sugar Thieves have been building a cultlike following that has captured the attention of the younger crowd because of its indie sound mixed with the blues.
The Stacy Jones Band plays a mix of music that includes blues, a touch of jazz and a fusion of early rock from the 1960s and '70s. Band leader Jones not only plays acoustic guitar but a pretty mean harmonica as well.
Billy D & the Hoodoos play more edgy blues with a dose of danceable rock and funk. The group made its Northwest debut at last year's Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland.
Lisa Mann is a three-time winner of the Cascade Blues Association's Muddy Waters Award for bass player of the year. She also earned vocalist of the year in 2008.
Woodbury's band was awarded best new band recognition from the Washington Blues Society last year.
The Trevalyan Triangle is led by Leanne Trevalyan, who also performs with Junkyard Jane from time to time. She is a four-time winner as best songwriter from Washington Blues Society and also a past winner of the female performer of the year award from Tacoma Music Award association.
Untapped has been one of the Northwest's most popular blues festivals since it was organized in the spring of 1997.
It's become a rite of passage every May since then, Nichols said.
"When the apple trees blossom and the asparagus is freshest, it's time for Untapped," he added.
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; email@example.com