Baker Brooks returns
for encore performance
was a crowd favorite
at the 2009 Madison Blues Bash
Helen E. McKinney
(August 2011) What would barbecue be without
a little blues music mixed in? Friday nights Madison Ribberfest
Blues Bash headliner Ronnie Baker Brooks is expected to
spice up the ingredients while cranking out a flavor that is sure to
appeal to all.
Brooks was reared in Chicago, a town steeped in American musical tradition.
His father was the famed blues player Lonnie Brooks. Brooks grew up
listening first-hand to gutsy guitar players and soulful singers who
werent afraid to express their emotions through song.
played here in 2009
and returns by popular
demand to headline
this years Madison
Ribberfest Blues Bash
on Friday night.
Musically, Brooks said he was influenced by my father,
of course, but I have many others like Albert Collins, BB King, Buddy
Guy, Albert King, Freddie King, Jimi Hendrix, SRB and Muddy Waters,
just to name a few, Brooks said during an early August telephone
But Brooks, a futuristic thinker, doesnt merely imitate these
Blues legends. He puts a new twist on his music, modernizing it for
todays crowd by instilling a contemporary sound into it.
David Butler, music co-chair of Ribberfests Blues Bash. along
with Rocky Harrell, said Brooks was invited back to Ribberfest in honor
of the events 10-year anniversary. Brooks performed at the 2009
Ribberfest, and the music committee has received more requests to bring
him back more than any other performer.
He just tore it up, said Butler. Everybody just totally
Brooks will take the stage at 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 19, at Madison Bicentennial
Park. Gates will open at 5 p.m. The evenings stage performances
kick off at 6 p.m. with Louisville-based V-Groove. At 8 p.m., Tinsley
Ellis will entertain the crowd. Known for attacking his music with heart
and soul, Ellis delivers a performance in the tradition of Deep South
fellow musicians Duane Allman, Freddie King, Derek Trucks and Warren
Haynes. Then Brooks will take the stage and close out the evening.
We give our all every night at every show, said Brooks.
We love to see people having a good time, so we work hard at making
that happen. If the audience gives any of that back to us, we work harder!
Brooks popularity quickly grew early on by playing in Chicago
area clubs until he became a mainstay. His first album, Golddigger,
was released in 1998. His second album titled, Take Me Witcha,
was released in 2001. Brooks much anticipated third album was
released in 2006. The Torch includes 17 original songs and was nominated
for the Best Blues Album of the Year from the Chicago Music Awards.
On The Torch, Brooks has taken blues-rock and infused it with deep soul,
modern hip-hop vocals and funk rhythms to make it his very own eclectic
mix of Blues. He has been quoted as saying, I wanted to do something
that would bring young people to the Blues, and then give them the real
hardcore thing at the same time.
The title song The Torch of the Blues, features Brooks with
his father and Blues legends Eddy Clearwater, Jimmy Johnson and the
late Willie Kent, who worked on the session before his death in March
Of his own distinct style, Brooks said, Everyone has their own
fingerprint, so I try to do the best I can at being myself and come
from my heart with my music. Then hopefully, I will have my own identity.
He continued, I love the truth in Blues music. I loved it since
(I was) a very small child. I mean people like Muddy, John Lee Hooker,
Howlin Wolf, Lightin Hopkins and Son House. Its something
about the truth in their voices and music that just grabs me.
Brooks joined his fathers band right out of high school, and spent
more than a decade backing and opening his fathers show every
night. He left his fathers band to strike out on his own after
releasing his debut album, Golddigger. This album earned
him a W.C. Handy Award nomination for Best New Blues Artist.
Lonnie Brooks has been in the Blues industry for nearly six decades.
His release of Two Headed Man quickly made him famous for
his Voodoo Blues trademark sound. He is best known for his
showmanship at his live shows, a trait he passed onto his son.
Brooks certainly has no problem drawing in an audience. This year the
Ronnie Baker Brooks Blues Band has performed nationally and internationally
at such events as The Grammys Blues Fest Kickoff, 14th Annual
WXRT Blues Breakers Blues Fest, Cisco Ottawa Bluesfest, Festival International
Du Blues Tremlant (Canada), London Blues Fest International, and the
North Atlantic Blues Fest.
Brooks has toured on his own and as a member of the Legendary Rhythm
& Blues Revue. He currently tours with his father and brother, Wayne
Baker Brooks, under the guise: The Brooks Family Blue Dynasty
Talent runs in the family as his brother has headlined clubs and festivals
worldwide and hosted All-Star Blues Bash concerts featuring some of
the biggest names in the business. Wayne Baker Brooks performed for
First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in 1999 at Willie Dixons Blues
Heaven Foundation at Chess Studios in Chicago.
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