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Hooker, Bianca and Castro headline Blue Wing Blues Festival Aug. 6-8

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The Tallman Hotel and Blue Wing Saloon in Upper Lake, Calif., will once again be the scene of the Blue Wing Blues Festival, set for Friday, Aug. 6, through Sunday, Aug. 8, 2010. Courtesy photo.






UPPER LAKE – The Tallman Hotel and Blue Wing Saloon Restaurant have announced the lineup for this year’s Blue Wing Blues Festival, scheduled for Aug. 6 through 8.


Starting at 5:45 p.m. each day of the festival, two great bands, including headliners John Lee Hooker Jr., Lady Bianca and Daniel Castro will perform on the veranda of the hotel with the audience gathered in the intimate garden between the hotel and restaurant.


“It’s a great time of day and a great spot to enjoy world-class music,” said Tallman manager Shalean Smith, “and with a tasty barbecue dinner thrown in with the $50 price of admission, people really love the Festival.”


Tickets are limited to 120 each evening and may be purchased directly at either the hotel or restaurant, located on Main Street in Upper Lake, or by calling the hotel reception desk at 707-275-2245.


Tallman and Blue Wing owner Bernie Butcher said he feels fortunate to have booked such a great lineup of local bands and national stars.


“The three opening groups have all played here before to great acclaim,” he said. “And John Lee Hooker is almost as good as his famous father, Lady Bianca rocks out on the keyboards, and Daniel Castro is absolutely the most powerful blues guitarist I’ve ever heard.”


Here’s the festival lineup, along the local Lake County sponsors that have helped to make each evening possible. The Tallman Hotel web site (www.TallmanHotel.com) contains links to additional material on all of the artists.


On Friday, Aug. 6, the evening will open with a set by Side of Blues, featuring Tom King on vocals and blues harp and Anita Elliot on keys and vocals. This is one of the hottest new bands to appear on the local scene in recent years.


John Lee Hooker, Jr. and his band will be the headliner on the opening night of the festival. Son of the legendary John Lee Hooker, who died in 2001, Junior was exposed the life of the blues from a young age, traveling with his dad and singing backup on a number of albums.


Personal problems sidelined him for a number of years, but John Lee reemerged in 2004 with the release of his album “Blues with a Vengeance,” which won a Grammy nomination and a local award as the Outstanding Blues Album of the year. He’s since released two other albums and he and his band tour widely nationally and internationally.


Local sponsors for the opening night of the Festival are Moore Family Winery, Brassfield Estate Winery, ReMax Realty, UCC Rentals and Lake Event Design & Party Rental.


On Saturday, Aug. 7, the festival will kick off with a set by Wendy DeWitt, widely known as the “Queen of Boogie Woogie.”


From the Bay Area to Europe, DeWitt spreads the gospel of Chicago based blues piano and boogie woogie to enthusiastic audiences everywhere. She’s recorded six albums and has appeared with such luminaries as Charlie Musselwhite, Otis Rush and Jimmy Thackery.


Headliner on Saturday will be Lady Bianca and her band. Based in Oakland, Lady Bianca is one of the most creative and talented women in the blues field today. Her unique styling on vocals and at the keyboard places her among the top female blues performers in the country.


Lady Bianca started her career as a background singer with artists including Frank Zappa, Sly Stone, Taj Mahal and Van Morrison. She then stepped out as a solo artist and songwriter to better pursue her love of blues, soul and gospel music. Her seventh CD, “A Woman Never Forgets,” has just been released to rave reviews and a Grammy nomination.


Sponsors of the Saturday show are Shed Horn Wines of Middletown, Economy Propane, Allora DaCar Productions and Blues Express Records.


The festival concludes on Sunday, Aug. 8, with the ever-popular local band Twice as Good.


Formed in 2003 by Lake County Native American leader Rich Steward and his talented son Paul, Twice as Good has been a favorite at the Blue Wing since its opening two years later. In March of this year, Twice as Good was named the best new Blues band by the West Coast Blues Hall of Fame.


Appearing as a guest vocalist with Twice as Good is Bay Area Blues diva Jan Fanucchi. Jan has performed at clubs and festivals all over California, most recently with guitarist Steve Freund, and she’s opened for such blues greats as Albert King, John Lee Hooker, Gregg Allman and Etta James. She has just released a new CD called Livin’ and Lovin’ on Lost Roots Records.


Daniel Castro and his band will top off the festival on Sunday evening. Originally from the tougher parts of Los Angeles and now based in the South Bay, Daniel Castro is a pure force on the blues guitar. With his passionate sound reminiscent of BB King and Albert King, he is at the forefront of the Bay Area blues scene.


The Castro band is just as comfortable with tough, raw Chicago blues as it is playing a hard driving, rocking, down home boogie. Castro said he appreciates the effort of the Blue Wing to keep great blues alive in this area and he’s looking forward to performing in Lake County for the first time.


Local sponsors for the Sunday performances include Tulip Hill Wines in Nice, Bicoastal Media and KXBX (98.3 FM) as well as Max Design Studio.


Shalean Smith at the Tallman summed up the 2010 Blue Wing Blues Festival this way: “Our staff puts in a lot of effort to book the best entertainers, come up with a special menu and set the place up so everyone can enjoy the show. But the rewards are there when the place is jumping and everyone is having a great time. We’re really looking forward to the event this year.”


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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