Blues, Brews & Barbecue
The 2021 Blues, Brews & Barbecue (July 31) in downtown Allentown represents the most impressive Blues line-up Allentown has ever witnessed. It's a day filled with craft & domestic brews, top-rated local BBQ, craft vendors, and of course, rockin' Blues music ALL DAY from incredible Blues musicians with international prominence.
Headlining this year’s festival is multiple award-winning Blues superstar, Shemekia Copeland. Shemekia has grown to become one of the must-see artists on the Blues and Roots music scene in the world today. With a recording career that dates to 1998, she proved she is on top back on June 6, 2021 in Memphis, TN at the Blues Music Awards (BMA). Shemekia was the evening’s big winner with three awards, including the coveted B.B. King Entertainer of The Year award, the Contemporary Female Artist of The Year award, and Album of the Year award. “Shemekia Copeland is a powerhouse – a superstar. She can do no wrong.” Rolling Stone Magazine
Also, headlining is King Solomon Hicks, the 26-year-old guitar phenom from Harlem, NY. King Solomon is an American guitarist, songwriter, and composer who is fast becoming a household name. Hicks won the BMA for Best Emerging Artist for his 2021 CD release, Harlem on Provogue Records.
New to the festival is Bruce Katz, who continues to have a distinguished career spanning over five decades. He has toured the world with a Who’s Who of legendary artists including, Ronnie Earl, Gregg Allman, Delbert McClinton, Butch Trucks, Jaimoe, among others. Currently Bruce performs non-stop with The Bruce Katz Band, as a power trio with Bruce on keyboards, Aaron Lieberman on guitar, and Ray Hangen on drums.
Also making his debut is Dave Keller from Montpelier, VT who has been influenced by the likes of Mighty Sam McClain, Ronnie Earl, Robert Ward, Johnny Rawls, and Otis Clay. A tireless performer and prolific songwriter, Dave Keller is someone to watch closely as he continues to advance his career with his award nominated “soul drenched” work and infectious personality.
The line-up also highlights:
- Lonnie Shields (West Helena, AR). Lonnie has recorded seven albums throughout his long career. His primary musical influence is BB King, but he has numerous Blues mentors including Big Jack Johnson, Sam Carr and Frank Frost.
- Clarence Spady (nearby Scranton, PA). Clarence has released three albums since the late 1990s – all to rave reviews. His brand-new release on Nola Records “Surrender” is currently #3 In the Living Blues Chart and #9 on the Billboard Blues Chart.
- Mikey Junior is a tremendous entertainer. Based in the Philadelphia area, Mikey just celebrated 25 years of performing Blues & Roots music to his devoted fan base.
- JP Williams & Ekat Peyerya. Singer/songwriter JP Williams was born in NYC and performs a variety of Blues, folk, and soul original compositions and covers. Russian Born Ekat has a dynamic vocal range and performs very well when she is together on stage with JP Williams.
In addition to Shemekia, Solomon, and the above-mentioned performers, local Lehigh Valley favorites will be heard, including the Craig Thatcher Band with Special Guest, Mike Guldin, The BC Combo, Pentley Holmes, the Mississippi Pig Farmers, Norman Taylor, and Tavern Tan.
With all the Blues tunes, expect delicious barbecue and a variety of other specialties, including, Mr. BBQ 911, Grumpy’s BBQ, the Allentown Bull & Bear restaurant, to name a few. You'll want to pair some BBQ with domestic and craft brews (Allentown BrewWorks), mead from the Colony Meadery, and new this year, cocktails from Allentown distiller and the main sponsor, Mishka Premium Vodka. Other vendors include, Chocolate Moonshine specialty chocolates, Habby Fruit salsa and barbecue sauces, and blues fest favorite, Funtastic Faces & Body Art face painting and henna.