Friday Night Headliner
is a hard-driving bluesman
The native Texan has developed
his own signature sound
(August 2017) – Madison Ribberfest blues fans will have the opportunity to see Delbert McClinton in concert as the Friday night, Aug. 18, headliner at the 16th annual festival. Preceding him will be Jason Ricci & the Bad Kind, and Ana Popovic.
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who love Delbert McClinton and those who haven’t heard him yet. McClinton is always working on that second group.
Lyle Lovett has said, “If we could all sing like we wanted to, we’d all sing like Delbert.”
The multi-Grammy Award winning artist is at the top of his game with his 19th studio album, “Prick Of The Litter.’ The new offering captures the balance of soulful energy and restraint that the legendary performer has been delivering in his live performances for decades all over the world.
On “Prick of the Litter,” McClinton incorporates a variety of styles, and, as always, just enough to keep him comfortably outside the traditional marketing categories. “Prick Of The Litter” blends McClinton’s signature rhythm and blues sound with a newer jazz-influence inspired by Johnny Mercer, Nat King Cole and other legendary crooners.
Delbert McClinton (third from left) and his band will warm up the Ribberfest stage at 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18.
He includes some upbeat traditional blues (“Don’t Do It”) with a romantic take on Tony Bennett’s San Francisco (“San Miguel”), while “Skip Chaser” paints a vivid picture of the perils of the profession. A highlight is the album’s closer, the gentle and hopeful “Rosy.”
She’s nominated for five Blues Music Awards, appeared on the cover of Vintage Guitar and Guitar Player magazine. Her albums “Can You Stand The Heat” (2013) and “Unconditional” (2011) were Pick-Of-The-Week by USA Today and featured on NPR Music. Nearly all of Popovic’s albums made it the Top Five of the Billboard Blues Charts and are being played regularly on American radio.
McClinton’s road band, Self-Made Men, provide a hard-driving rhythm section, powerful guitars and innovative piano, accented by punched-up horns. McClinton’s definitive vocals and distinct harmonica licks bring it all together.
McClinton has been a leading Americana artist since before the genre was established. He has won two Grammy awards in the blues category for Best Contemporary Blues Album; and one in the rock category (Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group), with Bonnie Raitt for “Good Man, Good Woman.”
McClinton’s unique musical style grew from his Texas music beginnings. Influenced at a young age by Tejano, Western Swing, Rhythm and Blues and War songs, he developed a signature sound that served him well.
McClinton grew up around Lubbock and Fort Worth, and spent his early career in the desegregating roadhouses of Fort Worth’s Jacksboro Highway, leading the house bands for Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley and others, while making a local name for himself.
Later, McClinton traveled to England, where he headlined shows with Bruce Channel (“Hey Baby”) with a little-known Liverpool band [The Beatles] as the opening act. He then rolled into Los Angeles as songwriters began to take top billing, and headed back to Texas for the progressive movement and blues renaissance that helped kick off Austin’s role in American musical history.
If you’ve seen a live Delbert McClinton show, you will recognize the synchronized energy on “Prick Of The Litter” that comes from thousands of miles of playing together. McClinton says that his current road band, Self-Made Men, is the best band he’s ever had.
“Jack Bruno [drums] is amazing. He played with Joe Cocker and with Tina Turner for years. I’ve been harder on drummers than anybody in the world, but Jack is right there where I need him. Dana Robbins [saxophone] and Quentin ‘Q’ Ware [trumpet] punctuate the live performances in just the right places. James Pennebaker [guitar] is family. He’s been playing with me off and on since he was 19. Mike Joyce [bass guitar], Kevin McKendree [piano], and Bob Britt [guitar] are among my best friends, in addition to being in the band. Mike and Kevin and I write together a lot. We wrote most of the songs on this album together.”
McClinton, McKendree and Britt also co-produced “Prick Of The Litter.”
“Going into the studio with a band that’s like family creates real magic,” says McClinton. “You have the energy of a live band. We feed off of each other. We are better together. And it always feels like they have my back.”
Jimmie Vaughan and Lou Ann Barton are an added bonus on the first track. McClinton wrote or co-wrote 10 of the songs on the album.
2017 is a milestone year for McClinton. In addition to the release of “Prick Of The Litter,” a biography is slated for release in September. He has also been nominated for Texas State Musician, a highly acclaimed state appointment akin to poet laureate. “Prick of the Litter” is a signature project for McClinton, and he is proud of it.
“We worked hard on this, and we got exactly what we wanted,” he says. “The songs, the band, the production. Everything came together. We didn’t leave no chicken on the bone.
“I did what I came to do with this album. I guess I really am one of the fortunate few.”
Friday Night Lineup
• Kicking off the musical lineup at 6 p.m. Friday will be Jason Ricci & the Bad Kind. Ricci is considered one of the most popular harmonica players on the planet today. Listed in almost every top 10 list of players on the Internet, Ricci is a polarizing force always in the spotlight and on the tips of critics, artists and fans tongue’s everywhere.
Through two-plus decades of endless touring, TV appearances, recordings and the Internet, Ricci’s style of playing is so revolutionary and influential that there exists an entire younger generation of players imitating his music, clothes, gear and even stage presence.
Nicknamed “Moon Cat” (a street name he once used in Nashville and New Orleans to avoid police detection), Ricci has been an almost constant force for decades in the studio, festivals, club dates and press.
Love him or hate him, through performing, singing, song writing, teaching, harmonica playing and activism in the fields of L.G.B.T., mental health and addiction, it is not an overstatement that this young, white, queer, skateboarding, punk rock-loving, multiple convicted felony having Moon Cat from Maine is currently changing the world through music and education.
Ricci was a featured performer on Johnny Winter’s Grammy award-winning CD “Step Back” in 2014. Has received multiple Blues Music Award Nominations from 2009-2016 and won a Blues Music Award in 2010. He was the featured performer at the Rock & Roll hall of fame with Zac Brown & Tom Morello for the Paul Butterfield Blues Band induction in 2015.
• Ana Popovic will follow Ricci on stage at 8 p.m. This Los Angeles-based guitar player and singer is back on the road promoting her new triple album “Trilogy,” considered to be her most ambitious project yet.
With “Trilogy,” Popovic releases three albums in one. Twenty-three funk, rock & blues and jazz tunes produced by Grammy Award winner Warren Riker (Lauryn Hill, Carlos Santana), Grammy Award winner Tom Hambridge (Buddy Guy) and Delfeayo Marsalis, one of the top trombonists, composers and producers in jazz today. Guest appearances include Joe Bonamassa, Robert Randolph and many others.
She was the only female guitarist part of the “all-star” Experience Hendrix 2014-2017 line-up.
“In an era where most are skeptical about the current state and future of the music industry, I wanted ‘Trilogy’ to tell a different story,” she said. “The record biz might be broken, and Spotify might rip us off, but that can’t keep an artist down. Creativity is very much alive, and music is the celebration of life.”
Popovic was born in Belgrade, Serbia (formerly Yugoslavia), and grew up in a family where music was very important. All throughout her youth, her father would invite friends over for nightly jam sessions. In this atmosphere, she quickly learned her father’s impressive blues and soul record collection, grabbed his guitar and started playing at age 15. Since then, Popovic has developed into a phenomenal guitarist/vocalist with a growing legion of fans throughout the world.
She and her powerful band are tirelessly touring, playing major blues, jazz and rock festivals. She is endorsed by Fender, D’Angelico, Jim Dunlop and DR strings.
Popovic has shared headlining stages with B.B. King, Joe Bonamassa, Gary Clark Jr. and many others.
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