Amelia Island Blues Fest offered Great Talent

Curtis Salgado

Headliner Curtis Salgado. Photo by Helmut Albrecht

The 2014 Amelia Island Blues Fest last weekend had everything going for it. The weather stayed bluesy warm with beautiful sunsets, the beer and bbq was excellent, the crowds were ample and relaxed and the blues was magnificent.

On Friday evening Festival veteran Roger “Hurricane” Wilson from Atlanta started the show off with our local high school blues band, followed by  The Mojo Roots who had traveled all the way down from Ohio to introduce us to their mix of soulful Jonny Lang inspired blues. Quite an eye opener.

On Saturday the show opened around noon with no one less than Ben Prestage’s One Man Band. Absolutely amazing to see one man coordinate all his limbs to produce music and rhythm of superb quality, while his mind independently produces lyrics and vocals of an Americana lifestyle, many of us have lost and forgotten. Especially liked the closing of his set when he introduced his band. Very witty.

When the following act set up its equipment I got intrigued by the Amp combination of a Marshall, an Avatar AND a Fender amp for the lead guitar of young Matthew Curry. Tell you honestly, the kid blew me away once he got his bearings and the blues. Great guitar player and blues voice beyond his years. Since the inception of the first Blues Festival in 2011, we kind of followed the recipe of having a young and upcoming talent and at least one female blues performer in the line-up. This year once again proved that to be a great formula with Matthew Curry and Samantha Fish.

DSC_0581Another greatly appreciated decision was to bring the Festival back to Main Beach: Great ocean breezes, more relaxed setting, ample parking, nice collection of vendors and food suppliers.

Next in the line up was Bernard Allison, late Luther Allison’s son, who knows his way around “his daddy’s” guitar. Great show! Luther was followed by earlier mentioned Samantha Fish and her trio, also from the Ohio area. Comparisons with last year’s phenom performer Anna Popovic were inevitable. Samantha’s blues belting was a notch up, while her guitar playing was a notch down, but that could have been her pedal settings, which were a bit to harsh. Beautiful and original guitars however.

Moving on we were treated by the beautiful haunting sounds of Chicago blues veteran John Primer whose show was solid and introspective. And words cannot really describe the sounds and emotions coming from headliner act Curtis Salgado in the beautiful setting sun. Soulful, entertaining, professional, flawless, engaging; those are just words trying to give an impression. You had to be there to get the overwhelming experience of great blues on the ocean.

See you next year.


Amelia Island Blues Festival September 12-13

Amelia Island Blues Festival September 12-13
The fourth annual Amelia Island Blues Festival will return back to the ocean breezes of Main Beach. Friday night will feature the Fernandina Beach High School “Blues in School Band” under the direction of Johnny Robinson and Roger “Hurricane” Wilson, followed by The Mojo Roots.

On Saturday, the festival will continue with performances from a variety of artists, including headliners Curtis Salgado, John Primer, Samantha Fish, Bernard Allison, Ben Prestage and more.

For a full line-up of entertainment and to purchase tickets, visit or call 404-784-7687.

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

2014 Amelia Island Blues Festival Returns to Main Beach

2014 Amelia Island Blues Festival Returns to Main BeachThe 2014 Amelia Island Blues Festival is returning to Main Beach this year, September 12th and 13th!

Want to get a discount on your ticket admission fee, or the opportunity to win a guitar? Simply bring a donation to Barnabas Food Pantry on Friday the 12th and you will receive $5.00 off of the gate price.

Bring a non-perishable food donation on Saturday and you will receive a raffle ticket for a chance to win an artist signed guitar.

Here is the lineup:
Friday, September 12th, 2014
6:00 – 6:20 Blues In School Band with Roger”Hurricane” Wilson
6:30 – 8:00 The Mojo Roots

12:00 Gates open
12:15 – 1:15 Ben Prestage (Off stage, 40×40 tent one hour “History of the Blues” set and 15 min. between acts)
1:15 – 2:15 Matthew Curry Band, 18 yr. old guitar prodigy
2:35 – 3:30 Bernard Allison
3:50 – 5:00 Samantha Fish
5:20 – 6:30 John Primer
6:50 – 8:00 Curtis Salgado

Ticket Prices Friday
Presale $5.00
Gate $10.00 or $5.00 with food donation to Barnabas Food Bank

Ticket Prices Saturday
Presale $20.00
Gate $25.00

2 Day Pass
Presale $25.00
Gate $30.00

VIP (2 Day only)

Tickets can be purchased in advance by CLICKING HERE.

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

Blues Aren’t Just About Being Sad

Bluesfest logoMusic is about culture, history, strive, hope, sadness and joy. Music is about people. There are so many musical expressions, but if you’re talking about folk music, you talk about blues, the crucible of African-American music and the directions it experimented in after it escaped the roots of the Mississippi delta and sprang from spiritual music and field hollering to spin the cultural thread that followed the immense black migration from the vast openness of the south to the urban centers of the north – and from there across the globe. More than 5 million blacks moved north, south, east and west between 1915 and 1970, away from the Delta.

Away from the cotton fields in search for a better live in the urban industrialized centers. Some moved to Memphis Tennessee, where the blues gave birth to rock and roll. New Orleans developed its own flavor of jazz/blues and further west in Texas, blues received a Texas shuffle treatment. Moving to St.Louis and later Detroit, blues added horn sections and gave way to rhythm and blues and soul and funk. When the blues reached Chicago it became electrified and amplified and spread across the globe.

Blues was born as a lamentation of hardship but over time became an outlet for the heart’s every yearning. Blues is no longer just about being sad. It’s about life and it is about a culture that needs to be remembered. It’s a way to remember how black folks lived and were treated and to make absolutely sure that history will not repeat itself in any resemblance of that misguided era of human disgrace. Blues came from poverty and restriction and even though poverty is still an issue in the Delta and beyond, the cotton fields are worked by modern machinery and the sharecroppers shacks have made way for neat bungalows and mobile homes.

A lot of things have changed and many for the better, but this also has given rise to the fact that young African Americans these days are not into the blues anymore, even though it animates rap and other music forms they listen to.
These days it is a younger white generation that has taken up the cause of the blues. Joe Bonamassa, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Sheppard and others from areas as varied as upstate New York, Los Angeles and Oregon, are just a selected handful of guitar slingers that have adopted blues as their story to the world. The great Willie Dixon once said: Blues is the Facts of Life. And the fact is that facts change and the blues is how life feels and breathes as it goes on. I believe that there is more continuity in blues as an expression of everyday life, than anything else on this planet. Which is the main reason I joined the initiative to bring a Blues Festival to Amelia Island four years ago. Proud that we are now helping to keep the memories alive and happy to see that the 4th festival is on our door step and that it moved back to the beach. For me it feels like singing “Sweet Home on the Beach”, with a minuscule touch of irony and a giant portion of belief.

Amelia Island Blues Festival 2014 Headliners

The Amelia Island Blues Festival is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, September 12th & 13th, at Main Beach this year. Four award winning artists are set to headline this year’s event.

Curtis Salgado winner of the 2010 Blues Music Award (BMA) for Soul Blues Artist of The Year, Salgado effortlessly mixes blues, funk and R&B with a delivery that is raw and heartfelt.

Chicago Blues legend, Grammy Award and Blues Music Award Nominee, John Primer is truly “The Real Deal” when it comes to performing Chicago Blues.

Samantha Fish won her 2012 Blues Music Award for “Best New Artist Debut” for her album “Runaway”, Her new CD, “Black Wind Howlin”will be released two days before the festival.

Bernard Allison‘s acclaimed career has included decades of performing the Blues. Bernard totes the same smokin’ six string shooter as his late father, Blues legend Luther Allison.

“We are very excited to have these world class Blues artists to perform at our 4th annual event” says Jeff Malone, President.

Day One – Friday, Sept 12th: gates will open at 5:30pm with music starting at 6:00pm with our very own Fernandina Beach “Blues in School” Band with band leaders Johnny Robinson and Roger “Hurricane” Wilson. From 6:30 – 8:00pm, The Mojo Roots, performer at the 2013 Chicago Blues Festival will take the stage.

Day Two – Saturday,  Sept 13th: gates open at 11:30am with music performances from 12:15 – 8:00pm. Ben Prestage is returning to perform throughout the day. Young Blues guitar prodigy Matthew Curry, Bernard Allison, Samantha Fish, John Primer and Curtis Salgado will headline this year’s event. For updates you can visit the festival facebook page. Don’t forget to like them. For more Information and Tickets visit:

2014 Amelia Island Blues Festival

2014 Amelia Island Blues FestivalThe sounds of the Blues will return to Amelia Island on Friday and Saturday, September 12th and 13th, 2014 with the 4th Annual Amelia Island Blues Festival.

Returning to Main Beach on Amelia Island, Florida, the 2014 Amelia Island Blues Festival will feature a melting pot of Chicago Blues, Mississippi Delta Blues and Blues/Rock artists.

This event is for all ages.

Visit for more information and photos from last years event and please like ’em on facebook.

Tickets go on sale May 1st, 2014.

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

Third Amelia Island Blues Festival This Weekend

The 3rd Annual Amelia Island Blues Festival (AIBF) is only two days away and promises to deliver another powerful line-up of top tier talent for local fans of the blues.  Back by popular demand, our Master of Ceremonies will be Roger “Hurricane” Wilson from Kennesaw near Atlanta, will also be performing on Friday, September 13th with our very own Blues in Schools Band, under the direction of local band leader Johnny Robinson.

The event kicks off at 6:00 PM on Friday night at Centre Street near the Palace Saloon, and is highlighted by the return of noted bluesman Albert Castiglia in a “Sounds on Centre” free admission format.  Castiglia was riding the high of his No. 1 CD at this time last year and he appears to be gaining in popularity worldwide. Even though the Friday event is FREE, the organizers request that you bring some food items (canned or boxed) for the Barnabas Foodbank. Their truck will be parked next to the stage near the Palace Saloon. “It has been a pleasure to work with Barnabas as one of our benefactors this year and the committee  looks forward to a long term partnership with this worthy cause,” says Festival President, Jeff Malone. Music will be played from 6:00pm – 8:00pm. Roger “Hurricane” Wilson and the “Blues In School Band” will open the evening, followed by Albert Castigilia. Afterwards, Albert and his band will also host a After Festival Jam starting at 10:30 at the Palace Saloon, one of the festival’s major sponsors.

Saturday Blues

Stepping away from Main Beach, this year the organizers have chosen for the more intimate location on the downtown river front, where the boat trailer parking meets the Pétanque Courts; Very much in line with this year’s artist line up. The buzz surrounding the Saturday line-up has focused on some legendary names, as B.B. King’s youngest daughter Claudette opening the event.  The event closer is Mud Morganfield, the oldest son of blues icon Muddy Waters. If the wind kicks up folks might actually think they are in Chicago!

Blues Festival Line Up

Blues enthusiasts certainly don’t want to miss these two outstanding performers and will be grateful that both had the talent and decided to carry on the family business of traditional blues.  Also a part of the strong musical line-up, Zac Harmon and Ana Popovic are both proven crowd pleasers.
Possibly the biggest surprise of the year may well be the sensational John Németh, who has been exciting crowds around the world with his strong voice and intense harmonica work. John Németh is a rising blues star; a singer steeped in the tradition and reminiscent of the greats. His decade long career has found him opening for Robert Cray, Keb Mo’, and Earl Thomas. Performing major music festivals around the United States, Europe, Canada and Asia has brought him critical acclaim.  He is currently up for five major blues awards and he has been one of the most sought after blues performers at festivals all across the country.  He is cradled right in the middle of the line-up to climb the stage at 2:15 PM.  You definitely want to get set up in time to see this terrific performer.
“I remember telling friends up North in ’80 that they should go see Stevie Ray Vaughan, but they weren’t impressed because he wasn’t famous yet. It will give me great pleasure to say, ‘I told you so!’ about John Németh. You’ll see.”
Bob Margolin, Blues Revue Magazine
“Either John Németh is one of the greatest vocalists in the world or this was the best performance of his life, or both.”  Bob Horn, Washington Blues Society
“Hands down the toughest young harp player I’ve ever heard.”
R.J. Mischo
“Boy! John Németh can really belt it out!”
Charlie Musslewhite
“John Németh’s voice is a national treasure.”
Junior Watson

The Amelia Island Blues Festival has brought a tremendous amount of talent to the island during its short history, to include Shemekia Copeland, Albert Castiglia, Sean Chambers, Shane Dwight, J.P. Soars, the Nouveaux Honkies, Flannel Church, and Beth McKee.  The list just got longer and the festival just moved up a notch in musical credibility.

Tickets are on sale now by visiting the festival website at and clicking on TicketBud until Friday at midnight.  The Friday night performances are free, while the Saturday event at the waterfront is $20 in advance and $25 at the door.   VIP tickets are available for $50.

The gates open at 11am and the festival closes at 8pm, followed by a After Festival Blues Jam at Sheffield’s starting at 10:30pm , with Roger Hurricane Wilson and the Shuffle Junkies as hosts, while all the artists have been asked to join in.

No Singing the Blues at Local Farmers Market

No Singing the Blues at Local Farmers MarketThe Amelia Island Blues Festival is this weekend at the waterfront in historic, downtown Fernandina Beach, and our local farmers’ market won’t be singing the blues! Just like it is every Saturday, the Market Place is one happy place to be!

September 14, 2013 at the Fernandina Beach Market Place farmers’ market, they will be introducing another new vendor to Amelia Island, Florida. Chef Roxy, from Cafe Bleuu in Welaka, will be joining other exhibitors on N. 7th Street with her popular dishes like chicken soup, lasagna, chicken parmesan, blue cheese and quiche.

Wooks Beef Jerky attends the market every week bringing their world famous jerky from Lakeland, Florida. Flavors include teriyaki, hickory, pepper and my personal favorite spicy Cajun.

Ina and her husband, The Dutchman, of Seven Trees Nursery in Jacksonville, Florida, bring a wide variety of house and patio plants to Fernandina. Their succulents, hanging baskets, flowering plants and tropicals are unique, healthy and easy to care for; I find it hard not to buy a new one each and every week.

Maria’s Bread Company, An Un-believable Egg Roll, and local restaurants Merge, Great Harvest and Kelleys Courtyard Cafe will also be attending the market on Saturday.

Music will be provided by locals Joey and Jeanne, with Quality Health joining us to promote their upcoming, free Health Fair, and the Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce will be on hand to answer your questions.

The Fernandina Beach Market Place farmers’ market is open every Saturday, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, rain or shine. Well behaved, leashed pets are welcomed, too. For more information visit

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

Blues Festival Line Up Finalized with BB King’s Daughter Claudette

Claudette King Performs Amelia Island Blues Festival

Claudette King Opens Amelia Island Blues Festival

The Amelia Island Blues Festival tradition of having famous Blues great’s children perform their bloodlined talents at the festival continues now that the festival contracted BB King’s youngest daughter Claudette to be the opening act for Saturday September 14. King made a name for herself in the San Francisco Bay area and the performance houses in Nevada (Reno) and several years ago moved to Atlanta, Georgia where she recorded her critically acclaimed debut album “We’re On To Something”.

To be fair, she recorded another album years before titled “Whiskey Makes Me Sin” which primarily got airplay in Europe, reason why “We’re on to Something” which had the working title “It’s Easier Alone” is really her debut in the US markets.

Although her father’s influence is very much in evidence on this album, it’s only one of many;
This disc has been a long time coming: King has been performing in San Francisco clubs since the mid-’80s, and the stylistic range she’s developed over the years is impressive.
While you’ll hear plenty of solid blues on this album — notice in particular the rocking, barrelhouse big-band blues of “Can I Walk You to Your Car” — you’ll hear even more R&B and soul, and her vocal style has more than a hint of the church in it.
For this album, producer Dan Bacon brought in a couple of expert songwriters to help with new material and the songs written by Dennis Walker and Alan Mirikitani are very good: “This Ain’t How I Planned It” is a deliciously soulful ballad, while “A Dog Like You” is a slow-burning number that starts off sounding like a classic kiss-off song but then throws you a curve ball.
Some exceptional high-quality fare comes with the funky R&B workout “Whole Lotta Nothing” (my absolute favorite) and a swinging big-band version of the Robert Cray song “Playing with My Friends.” King’s voice is clear and solid, with a pleasant fuzz around the edges, and her energy and joy are palpable on every track.
With Shemekia Copeland, daughter of blues great Johnny Copeland, headlining the festival in 2012, and Mud Morganfield Jr., Muddy Waters’ oldest son headlining this year’s line up, the Bluesfest committee has apparently embarked on a quest to find talented offspring of blues greats to perform at the Festival. Claudette King is definitely worthy of that predicate.

Instruments for Local Talent

In an effort to give local young musicians the opportunity to develop their talents, the Amelia Island Blues Festival Committee recently asked high school band instructor Johnny Robinson for a wish list of instruments for use by band members.  Two weeks ago the Blues Committee delivered on their promise with three donations to the band’s music closet.

The group delivered a brand new Allora AATR – 101 Series Student Bb Trumpet (Lacquer) valued at over $300.00, a brand new Yamaha YMP-204M Series Marching F Mellophone, valued at over $1200.00, and a used Ludwig Rocker 2-Series Drum Kit, valued at more than $500.00, and previously owned by local blues drummer Jeff Malone, president of the AIBF.

The 3rd annual Amelia Island Blues Festival is scheduled for September 13th and 14th and will move from Main Beach to Centre Street on Friday night and the Marina on Saturday.  Those attending the festival are encouraged to bring an old or new instrument for donation to any of our local schools and/or a canned food item for donation to the Barnabas Food Bank.

Sounds on Centre Line Up 2013

Ben Prestage, multi instrumentalist street performer

Ben Prestage, multi instrumentalist street performer

If Spring weather is ever going to cooperate with our outdoor plans of starting the 2013 Sounds on Centre Series, here is this year’s line up for the popular First Friday of the Month music series in Downtown Fernandina Beach.

April 5, 2013  Jim McKaba and the After Hours Band
Jim McKaba brings his 30-year background in blues and R& B together with a group of veteran musicians to lead his current group, the After Hours Band. Jim’s musical performance history dates back to the early 1970’s. At that time, great opportunities existed to perform with fathers of the blues idiom including Muddy Waters, Eddie Taylor Jimmy Rogers,

Pinetop Perkins, Big Walter Horton, Fred Below, S P Leary, and many others. The influence of his experience with these musicians guides Jim’s playing and arranging today. It also helped him develop the versatility that is often called upon when supporting other artists as a sideman or bandleader, and in leading his own bands on the piano or theHammond organ.

Jim has performed on blues festivals, concert stages and clubs for over 30 years, including Spring the Blues festivals 1993 – 2009, the Philadelphia Riverfront Blues Festival in 1993, the Amelia Island Blues Festival 2002, South Florida Boogie Piano Fest 2011, opening act for Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee in 1976, Gatemouth Brown in 2003, and many other memorable performances as both an accompanist and bandleader. In a recent project, Jim performed and recorded with 1940’s blues great Crown Prince Waterford and co-produced the critically acclaimed CD All Over But The Shoutin’.

In 2006 Jim and his band toured France and headlined the blues stage at the Rendez-vous de l’Erdre festival in the city of Nantes. The band also released their second CD; The After Hours Band. Jim McKaba and The After Hours Band stays in tradition and keeps the dance floor full with blues, funk, and jazz. The band includes Jim on piano, Hammond organ and vocals, with Florida blues and jazz greats Josh Miller (guitar), Ben Champion (saxophone), Jon Buck (drums), and Ray Satcher (bass).

Jim McKaba and The After Hours Band will be featured at this year’s Springin’ the Blues Festival in Jacksonville Beach.

There is no May date
There is no Sounds on Centre in the month of May as the first Friday coincides with the Annual Shrimp Festival.

June 7, 2013  Beech Street Blues band
Local Blues greats play mostly hard driving blues with Dan Voll on lead, Jay on rhythm/lead, Mike on bass, Ronnie on keyboards and Blues Festival committee president Jeff Malone on drums. Beech Street Blues Band will also be featured at this year’s Springin’ the Blues Festival in Jacksonville Beach.

July 5, 2013  Island Vibe
Island Vibe is a 5 piece music group featuring 3 distinctive lead vocalists and 3-5 part harmonies. The very diverse music repertoire covers tunes from the 20’s to current including timeless classics from Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Dolly Parton, Ray Charles, Andy Williams to Bob Seger, Moody Blues, Billy Joel, Leeanne Womack, and Jason Mraz.

The band has been a long time in the making because of individual time constraints, but finally started coming together in the fall of last year. The Members are well known in the local community of Amelia Island, Fernandina Beach and Yulee, with combined stage experience of well over 100 years as musician artists. The joke is that the band’s initial name was suggested as Four Old Guys and a Blond Chick (FOGBC). Expect some vocal harmony magic.

August 2, 2013  Boukou Groove
With the lively international release of their debut LP “A lil’ Boukou in Your Cup” and the ability to maintain a dynamic tour schedule, Boukou Groove provides audiences with a genre-bending collective, touching on elements of New Orleans style Funk, R&B, Soul, Blues and Hip-Hop.

Formed in Destin, Fla. in 2010, Boukou Groove is the brainchild of singer/producer Donnie Sundal and New Orleans guitar luminary Derwin “Big D” Perkins. Sundal, sharing stages and recording with the likes of Sam Bush, John “JoJo” Hermann and Junior Marvin of The Wailers, creates an infectious blend of energy and enthusiasm as he showcases his multi-octave ranging vocals while sustaining his brand of lavish Moog bass lines. Big D  (Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentleman, Bonnie Raitt and Rockin’ Dopsie) provides his smooth and funky guitar licks largely based on improvisation and feel alone. Together, no matter what the venue, the band provides their distinguishing style and creates a kinetic environment that’s easily spread throughout the audience.

September 13, 2013  Albert Castiglia
This Sounds on Centre spectacle officially opens the Amelia Island Blues Festival, which continues at the Riverfront on Saturday September 14. Tickets can be purchased Here.

Castiglia (everyone should know how to pronounce his name by now, since he headlined the 2011 Blues Festival and graced us with an Encore at the 2012 Festival) is Keepin On – and much more. Look for a great music weekend in the middle of September.

October 4, 2013  Ben Prestage
Ben Prestage grew up in the swamp country of south central Florida. Ben’s musical influences began with his Great grandmother, a Vaudeville musician who toured with Al Jolson and participated in the popular medicine shows of the 1920’s. His mother was a Boogie-Woogie pianist and painter that performed for Ben at a young age. On the other side of the family tree, his grandfather was a Mississippi sharecropper that turned Ben onto the sounds and culture of Mississippi Delta and Blues in general.

Ben Prestage began his musical career as a busker (street performer) on the historical Beale Street of Memphis, Tennessee. There he perfected playing his cigar box/banjo alongside his drum-kit, which always attracted people’s attention. Ben learned a lot from playing on the streets of Memphis including working with John Lowe, (inventor of the Lowebow, a type of diddley-bow that he plays), Robert Belfour, and Richard Johnston.

Since, Ben has returned often to Memphis for the International Blues Challenge which consists of the world’s largest gathering of Blues musicians. Within three consecutive years he took 4th, 3rd, and 2nd place in this prestigious event. He is the only two-time recipient of the Lyon/Pitchford Award for “Best Diddley-Bow Player.” Ben’s interesting approach to instrumentation, (fingerstyle guitar, harmonica, banjo, lap-steel, fiddle, resonator guitar, foot-drums, vocals, and his award-winning original songwriting) has earned him invitations to perform across North America, Europe, and as far away as North Africa.

He is the recipient of “The Most Unique Performer” at “The Song- writers’ Showcase of America” and is currently nominated for an Independent Music Award and a Blues Music Award. All awards aside, Ben has proven himself, through his live performances, to be the part of the future of American Blues, Roots Music, also called and Americana. From the swamp county of the Everglades, to the historic streets of Fernandina, Ben Prestage is a performer in every sense of the word.

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

The 2013 Amelia Island Blues Festival Line Up

2013 Amelia Island Blues Festival Logo

2013 Amelia Island Blues Festival Logo

After a good bit of soul searching and feedback from other festival locations after last year’s 3 day event on Main Beach, the Amelia Island Blues Festival Committee decided to move the event to downtown, bring it back to 2 days (actually one evening and one day) and tie it closer to the community, restaurateurs and establishments with live music in town. This has created the following tentative schedule and line-up, which admittedly features an epic melting pot of Chicago Blues, Mississippi Delta Blues and Blues Rock/Funk.

The event is planned for September 13 and 14 with a free show line up for Friday the 13th???, when the Fernandina Beach High School Blues Band with Roger “Hurricane” Wilson will open up for blues master Albert Castiglia at 6pm. The stage will be set up on Centre Street as on a regular Sounds on Centre Event.

Then on Saturday the 14th, the Festival will continue on the Riverfront Parking area, starting at 11am.
Here is the schedule and line up as confirmed by the committee:

10:30 – Gates open to VIP and Sponsors only

11:00  – Gates open to general public

11:15  –  12:00 Karl Davis Band

12:15  –  1:00   Josh Miller Band

1:15  –  2:00  Roger Hurricane Wilson w/ Shuffle Junkies

2:15  –  3:30  John Nemeth Band

Here is John with his band on a Blues Cruise with “Love Gone Crazy”.

3:45  –  5:00  Zac Harmon
Zac Harmon during the famous 2011 Blues Cruise

5:15  –  6:30  Ana Popovic
Emerging blues rocker born in Belgrade and currently living in Amsterdam Ana lets it loose in this funky blues “Can you stand the Heat” from her album with the same title out in April.

6:45 – 8:00 Mud Morganfield
Muddy Waters’ son keeping the Chicago blues alive.

Advance tickets for Saturday are $20 p/p and will be available on the festival website starting March 15 – as will be VIP tickets.

Thoughts by Blues Festival Emcee, Roger “Hurricane” Wilson

Thoughts by Blues Festival Emcee, Roger "Hurricane" WilsonWritten by: Roger “Hurricane” Wilson

This is going to be fun this week at the Amelia Island Blues Festival. Check out Roger “Hurricane” Wilson performing Minnie the Moocher with the Fernandina Beach High School Jazz Band. They take the stage at Noon on Saturday!

This is also a bittersweet anniversary commemorating the death of Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, 1 year ago this weekend, the same day he was supposed to have headlined this festival.

“We miss Willie dearly!”

The new CD, Live Blues Protected by Smith & Wilson, featuring the Late Grammy Winner, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith & Roger “Hurricane” Wilson, recorded live in Harrisburg, PA, is here!

There will be many copies of the new CD avalable at the festival, along with a copy of last years festival newspaper insert featuring Willie’s show he never gave, given away with each CD.

You can also order your copy now along with a color photo of that performance for $20.00 via Paypal to

Read the whole story on how this project evolved here:

Check out one of the tracks here:

This is not just another CD, but an actual piece of Blues music history. We hope you will join us to pay tribute to a great Bluesman, the late Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, and to keep his legacy and the Blues alive.

Please join the Blues Foundation at and vote for the next Blues Music Awards.

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

Amelia Island Has the Blues

Amelia Island Has the BluesFernandina Beach, FL – On September 14, 15 and 16, Amelia Island gets the blues! Amelia Island Blues Festival, that is, celebrating its second year of smokin’ good music, held at Main Beach Park in Fernandina Beach, Florida. With the Atlantic Ocean as its backdrop, the festival is offering up an end-of-summer party that rivals last year’s event, expanding the blues from two to three days, and featuring a line-up of spectacular local and nationally acclaimed artists.

The festival kicks off on Friday night, September 14th at 5 p.m., with Mojo Chillen from Jacksonville, and Fernandina Beach’s own Beech Street Blues Band, followed by headliners Flannel Church with Duane Trucks, and headliner Shane Dwight.

On Saturday, concerts begin at Noon, featuring an array of spectacular musicians, with headliners Sean Chambers, Albert Castiglia, and “Queen of the Blues” Shemekia Copeland. Chambers’ brand of blues is a no-frills blend of Chicago, Texas, and Delta styles, played with an understated sense of ferocity. Castiglia, whose latest album, Living the Dream, was released this summer, is a favorite high-energy performer at blues festivals across the country. Copeland’s passion for singing, matched with her huge, blast-furnace voice, gives her music a timeless power and a heart-pounding urgency. Aptly named “Queen of the Blues,” Copeland began her career singing at Harlem’s famed Cotton Club when she was just eight years old.

Sunday’s concerts kick off with Kim Reteguiz and the Black Cat Bones, from Jacksonville, winner of the Battle of the Blues competition, held earlier in the year during the Last Leg Rally. Reteguiz is known regionally as a vocal powerhouse with a dynamic vocal range and stage performance. Detroit’s David Gerald returns to the Amelia Island Blues Festival this year as the Sunday headliner, after last year’s eye-popping performance. Gerald’s blues have been receiving widespread radio play, along with recognition in the blues community, and was listed as Number One on the ReverbNation blues charts for Michigan Blues artists.

Other talented artists that concert-goers can expect to enjoy during the three days of blues on the beach include young super star Alex Ivanov, Roger “Hurricane” Wilson, The Nouveaux Honkies, J.P Soars and the Red Hots, Bill Sheffield, Blistur, Beth McKee, and the local Blues in Schools Band.

In addition to the music, The Amelia Island Museum of History has launched a new exhibit, “History of the Blues,” that features a tribute to the famed “Chitlin’ Circuit,” a collective name for venues throughout the Southern and Eastern United States that allowed African-American musicians and entertainers to perform during segregation. The exhibit will be on display until September 30, 2012.

The Amelia Island Blues Festival Committee and Board of Directors have worked all year promoting the festival and enlisting volunteers and sponsors. Jeff Malone, president of the festival and Amelia Island Blues Society, encourages concert-goers to take advantage of the many packages that the three day festival has to offer. “One thing we try to do is to keep the prices low, so everyone has an opportunity to come to the festival,” says Malone. “We offer a three day pass, daily passes, and a VIP special seating pass. Our fantastic vendors are offering food, drinks, and shopping, to make your Blues Festival experience the best. With a little sand and surf, and a collection of the some of the best blues around, it’s sure to be a great weekend!”

This year the festival is sponsored by RockTenn, our Number One supporter. So far, the festival has raised enough proceeds to purchase a six-passenger shuttle for Baptist Medical Center Nassau, used to assist and transport individuals on their fast-growing hospital campus in Fernandina Beach. The festival organizers will also be donating music instruments to local middle school children.

For more information about artists or to purchase tickets, visit our website at

Feedburner If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment below or subscribe to the feed to have future articles delivered to your e-mail and get the latest Amelia Island News, business, tourist activities and videos every morning!

SearchAmelia on TwitterYou can also choose to follow SearchAmelia on Twitter to get your daily updates!

The Blues Festival is Upon Us

Amelia Island Bluesfest with Willie Big Eyes Smith Band

Amelia Island Bluesfest with Willie Big Eyes Smith Band and Hurricane Wilson

The 10 day Weather forecast predicts sunny and 83°F for next week Friday and sunny and 84° for Saturday the 15th, with a nice 8mph breeze coming off the ocean. Time to get your tickets for the 2nd Amelia Island Blues Festival now. You can get them online via Ticketbud or you can get them at any of the listed Ticket Outlets below.

Friday the gates open at 4pm and at 5:00pm Daytona Beach’s “Mojo Chillen” will bite off the 3 day Blues Marathon. Our own Beech Street Blues Band will get up next, followed by Flannel Church with Derek Truck’s brother Duane on the drums and then at 9:00pm Guitar monster Blues/Country Blues sensation Shane Dwight will get the crowd going in awe.

No worries about food and drinks. The Palace Saloon Pavilion has the beer, wine and soft drinks and Sonny’s, the Yulee Firefighters and festival’s newest sponsor Timoti’s Fry Shak will take care of dinner for you. The Friday admission tickets are $10 if you get them from the website or at a ticket outlet. It’s $5 more at the gate.

On Saturday the gates open at 11:30am and you may as well bring a comfortable beach chair for this line up!!! Tickets for Saturday are $25 in pre-sale and $30 at the gate – more than worth it considering the magnificent line up.

At noon we pay tribute to Blues in School, when Fernandina Beach High School’s Blues Ensemble, guided and directed by Mr. Rob and Blues giant Roger “Hurricane” Wilson will kick off the show.

At 12:45 17 year old Alex Ivanov from Orlando will go on stage to show you why he was just signed in Nashville as the latest guitar prodigy. Alex’s idol is Ritchie Blackmore from the legendary rock band “Deep Purple” and his sound is a bit more on the hard rock blues side, but that’s the only way young and upcoming guitar aces can get attention in today’s music business. You will be treated to some jaw dropping fireworks, that’s a guarantee.

At 1:45 we welcome Hurricane Wilson warming up the afternoon with his huge range of classic blues and at 2:30 South Florida’s Nouveaux Honkies will show you how a violin and a beautiful young woman can play the blues. I love the line in one of their songs that reads something like: “If you want to know where I are… I’ll be safely tucked away in some bar.”

Then at 4:15 please welcome J.P. Soars and the Red Hots and find out why JP was nominated for “Best Contemporary Male Blues Artist of the Year” at the 33rd Blues Music Awards. He is one of those rare young guitar slingers/slide players that can play anything, anywhere, at any time.

Are you feeling the blues coming your way…????

Well than at 6pm it’s time for Sean Chambers to roll up onto the stage. He looks a bit like Gary Moore, but his playing and singing is all his own. Listen to “Ten till Midnight” and you’ll wanna be right-front-center stage when this kid takes off. He’s a badass guitar player who does not take prisoners when he pushes his guitar to the limits of the blues.

Take a 15 minute breather and then welcome blues master Albert Castiglia at  7:45 as he takes you to the magic of his latest album “Living the Dream”, released just last month. A great singer/songwriter/guitarist and showman we fondly remember as the inaugural year’s headliner.

And then there is Shemekia (Shemekuh) Copeland, daughter of blues great Johnny Copeland and the queen of blues in her own right, taking stage at 9:30 for a show this part of our state has not seen before.

This woman at the tender year of 33 1/3 (also the title of her latest album to be released on Sept. 25) has broken new ground between blues, rhythm and blues and soul, that marries Hip swinging, hand clapping rhythms and that makes you relive the origins of the blues in the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta.

Moving right along to Sunday’s line up when the gates open at 11:30 for a noon encounter with Kim Reteguiz and the Black Cat Bones. Kim is a classically schooled singer who can belt out the blues like it’s coming up from the earth, passing through her feet and when it reaches her vocal chords, there is fire and lightning. She won our Battle of the Blues earlier this year, a competition she’ll never have to do again. Tons of raving reviews on her youTube video have made that clear. Kim and her band of Bad Bones will be going places.

At 1:15 Atlanta based blues legend Bill Sheffield will go on stage to remind us that blues started out in the cotton fields of the Delta from where it moved ultimately in all directions. His songwriting and guitar mastery show that his development as a blues musician took many a detour as well. A Fascinating showman.

At 2:30 on Sunday it’s time to kick out the jams with Bluesrock sensation Blistur. After last year’s festival performance, the return of Blistur was a must. Recently signed, the band with Chris on guitar and vocals, Neal on drums and vocals and Dom on bass, came first to my attention in 2006, when they did a gig at what was then called “River’s Edge”. I was so impressed that a couple months later, in January of 2007 I flew the band down to the Caribbean Island of St.Maarten to open up for Joe Bonamassa, who was in the early stages of breaking through all blues barriers worldwide. In a relaxed atmosphere at one of the local clubs, Blistur was playing and Joe was in the audience, smoking a Cuban and having a drink. Upon Chris’s invitation, he and Joe started exchanging riffs on The Doors’ Roadhouse Blues. (I have not have time to dig up the footage, but I will.)

I had known and befriended Joe in 1994 and ever since thought he was (and still is) the foremost blues guitarist in the world, but I must say that Chris matched Joe’s riffs and shreds on that evening in every possible way. A couple of months later I took Blistur back to St.Maarten to record their first CD and one morning, Chris taped Jimi Hendrix/Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “Little Wing” in one unforgettable take. Everyone in the studio had their jaws hanging on their feet. Blistur is a force to reckon with.

Okay, moving on to Beth McKee, another re-entry of last year when Beth and her band blew us away with a Cajun Blues performance that was nothing short of magical. The lady and her percussionist/producer husband’s band are magnificent and will take the stage at 4:00pm.

And then… the finale: the David Gerald Band all the way from Detroit Michigan. He amazed us with his rendition of “I play the Blues for You” and we saw BB King playing Stevie Ray Vaughn, or maybe it was the other way around. This gentleman from Detroit has some surprises for us and if you were blown away by last year’s FINALE, wait when 4 magnificent guitar players join forces in a tribute to Gary Moore’s “I still got the Blues for You”.

Get your tickets now, because you don’t want to miss this Blues Festival.

Roger “Hurricane” Wilson, Living the Blues

Hurricane Wilson and Les Paul

The Amelia Island Blues Festival is bringing noted blues guitarist Roger “Hurricane” Wilson back to Main Beach; and this time Roger will act as Master of Ceremonies for the entire festival weekend.  Roger’s long and storied musical career provides him with a unique perspective and practical insight into the blues.  The great bluesman Hubert Sumlin said of Roger, “this boy knows what he’s doing,” and worldfamous guitar innovator Les Paul remarked that Roger “plays some great blues.”

In addition, Roger will bring his much heralded “Blues in School” program to the 2012 AIBF.  Students from Fernandina Beach High School, led by music teacher John Robinson, will again open the Saturday morning blues festival at Main Beach and will be joined by Roger for at least three classic blues songs, all designed to help keep the blues alive by introducing the genre to the next generation of musicians.

Taking his famous moniker from Hurricane Donna, which devastated his New Jersey hometown in 1960, as well as from his raucous blues renditions, Roger “Hurricane” Wilson has played with many of the greats, including B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Little Milton, John Mayall, and Savoy Brown, to name just a few.

Roger’s latest CD release is the much anticipated live recording performed with the Shufflejunkies at the 2011 Amelia Island Blues Festival.  Also in the works, a compilation of recordings with the legendary Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, due for release this summer.

For those that wish to become more familiar with Roger’s music, check out his first two CD’s for Hottrax Records, “Hurricane Blues,” released in 1994 and “Live from the Eye of the Storm,” released in 1996.  Both received airplay on well over 100 stations across the U.S.  In 1997 Roger decided that it was time to step up to the next level, forming his own record company, Blue Storm Records. This venture gave rise to the third CD, “The Business of The Blues.” The fourth CD is called “Live at the Stanhope House,” recorded at that legendary blues club in New Jersey.

A fifth effort, all solo acoustic, “Pastime” has also received much critical acclaim and “The Ohio Connection” was released in late April, 2004.   For a complete list of music, visit Roger’s website at

In addition to playing between 250 and 300 nights a year, Roger also produced and hosted his own syndicated radio show on nearly 100 stations around the country.

<iframe width=”480″ height=”360″ src=”” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

News from the Blues

Blues Fest Donates Courtesy Shuttle to Baptist Medical Center

Blues Festival Committee Donates Courtesy Shuttle to Baptist Medical Center

With less than two months to go to the second annual Amelia Island Blues Festival, there is an increasing number of news items to share.

Last Friday morning, the Blues Festival Committee proudly presented the Baptist Medical Center Nassau Auxiliary with the long awaited luxury Courtesy Shuttle it donated from last year’s Festival proceeds. The Amelia Island Blues Festival Inc. is a 501©3 non profit that selects worthy causes in the community and music initiatives to donate to if available. Besides once again the Baptist Medial Center, beneficiaries this year will also include the local high school music instrument program and a magnificent worldwide music education initiative called Playing for Change, which has its annual Global Music Day on September 22nd. This video shows the PFC band covering recently departed Blues great Etta James’ “I’d rather go blind” in preparation for the Annual Show.

<iframe src=”;portrait=0&amp;color=4e9d44″ width=”400″ height=”300″ frameborder=”0″ webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe>

Winner of the Battle of the Blues

Staying with that beautiful song, it was the Blues Committee’s decision based on many votes received that the Winner of the Battle of the Blues this year should be Kim Reteguiz and the Black Bone Cats, who interpreted this same Etta James blues evergreen magnificently.

The 2nd Annual Amelia Island Blues Festival (AIBF) is less than two months away and already promises to outshine its very successful inaugural event. Taking a major step forward, the event has landed a true national level blues diva to headline the musical talent and a well-traveled bluesman to MC the three day festival at Main Beach, scheduled for September 14 – 16, 2012.

Roger “Hurricane” Wilson will open the Saturday line-up with his very popular “Blues in School” program, and will hang out all weekend providing musical introductions and insight in this truest of American Music forms. Meanwhile, blues sensation Shemekia Copeland will close the Saturday night line-up of top-tier talent.
The extraordinary lineup will expose area blues fans to a wide range of talent seldom seen on one stage.  The list includes Sean Chambers, Shane Dwight, J.P. Soars, The Nouveaux Honkies, and Flannel Church with Duane Trucks, just to name a few.
We will introduce every artist in this extra ordinary line up to you in the next two weeks to make sure you get the importance of not letting the dates slide by and get your tickets now.
Tickets are on sale by visiting the festival website at

Shemekia Copeland and her band on tour

Shemekia Copeland

At a young age, Shemekia Copeland is already a force to be reckoned with in the blues. She’s opened for the Rolling Stones, headlined at the Chicago Blues Festival and numerous festivals around the world, scored critics’ choice awards on both sides of the Atlantic, The New York Times and The Times of London, and shared the stage with such luminaries as Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Taj Mahal and John Mayer.  Heir to the rich tradition of soul-drenched divas like Ruth Brown, Etta James and Koko Taylor, Copeland’s shot at the eventual title of Queen of the Blues is pretty clear. By some standards, she may already be there.

Copeland’s passion for singing, matched with her huge, blast-furnace voice, gives her music a timeless power and a heart-pounding urgency. Her music comes from deep within her soul and from the streets where she grew up, surrounded by the everyday sounds of the city – street performers, gospel singers, blasting radios, bands in local parks and so much more.

Born in Harlem, New York, in 1979, Copeland actually came to her singing career slowly. Her father, the late Texas blues guitar legend Johnny Clyde Copeland, recognized his daughter’s talent early on. He always encouraged her to sing at home, and even brought her on stage to sing at Harlem’s famed Cotton Club when she was just eight. At the time, Shemekia’s embarrassment outweighed her desire to sing. But when she was fifteen and her father’s health began to fail, her outlook changed. “It was like a switch went off in my head, and I wanted to sing,” she says. “It became a want and a need. I had to do it.”

At only 19, Shemekia stepped out of her father’s shadow with the Alligator release of 1998 debut recording, Turn the Heat Up!, and the critics raved. The Village Voice called her “nothing short of uncanny,” while the Boston Globe proclaimed that “she roars with a sizzling hot intensity.” A year later, she appeared in the Motion Picture Three To Tango, while her song, “I Always Get My Man” was featured in the film Broken Hearts Club.

Her second album, Wicked, released in 2000, scored three Handy Awards (Song of the Year, Blues Album of the Year, Contemporary Female Artist of the Year) and a GRAMMY nomination. Two years later, New Orleans R&B legend Dr. John stepped in to produce her third recording, Talking to Strangers (2002), which Vibe called “a masterful blend of blues-rock and ballads.”

Copeland released The Soul Truth in 2005. The album was produced by legendary Stax guitarist Steve Cropper, who also played on the CD, and featured generous doses of blues, funk and Memphis-flavored soul.

She joined Telarc International for the February 2009 release of Never Going Back. This new chapter in the Shemekia Copeland story represents a crossroads on her ongoing artistic journey – a place where numerous new avenues are open to her. While she will always remain loyal to her blues roots, Never Going Back takes a more forward view of the blues, and in so doing points her music and her career in a new direction.

“I’ve had success in my career, and I’m happy with that,” she says. “But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to continue to grow. In order for an artist to grow – and for a genre to grow – you have to do new things. I’m extremely proud to say I’m a blues singer, but that doesn’t mean that’s the only thing I’m capable of singing, or that’s the only style of music I’m capable of making.”
She adds: “I want to keep growing. My main goal when I started this was that I was going to do something different with this music, so that this music could evolve and grow. I got that idea from my father. He didn’t do the typical one-four-five blues. He went to Africa and worked with musicians there. He was one of the first blues artists to do that. I want to be the same way. I want to be innovative with the blues.”
We are so looking forward to see and hear this magnificent talent light up the stage as she has been doing from the White House to the famous Blues Cruise and from New York to L.A.
1 2 3 4