New name, new venue, legendary lineup: Michael John’s 8th Annual Ventura County Blues Festival takes place Saturday, April 27, 2013 at Moorpark College, 7075 Campus Rd., Moorpark. Gates open 10 a.m., music starts 11 a.m. Tickets $25 in advance, $30. day of show. Kids 12 and under free with adult. Plus food and craft vendors; guitar giveaway signed by all the artists; special kid’s area; and silent auction including new autographed Fender guitar signed by Johnny Rivers, and photo opportunity (with Rivers). Info: www.venturacountyblues.com or call the Festival Hotline: (805) 501-7122. Festival proceeds benefit the American Diabetes Association and local charities. Presented by the Ventura County Blues Society.
This year’s 8th Annual Ventura County Blues Festival is headlined by musical living legends: Johnny Rivers and Savoy Brown featuring Kim Simmonds; plus talented national acts guitarist Kenny Neal; keyboardist-vocalist Dona Oxford; Preston Smith and the Crocodiles; and Michael John and the Bottom Line. Special Guest Emcee: Actor/musician, Mickey Jones. Another capacity crowd is anticipated this year, so purchase tickets now in advance.
Johnny Rivers: With seventeen Gold Records, twenty-nine Chart Hits and over thirty million records sold, this legendary singer/songwriter and producer continues to perform before sellout crowds worldwide, remarkably at an age (70) when most people are happily retired. The “Secret Agent Man” has many other accomplishments and has made significant contributions to the history of rock ‘n roll. River’s long list of hits include “Baby I Need You Lovin,” “Maybelline,” “Memphis,” “Mountain Of Love,” “Poor Side Of Town,” “Rockin Pneumonia & Boogie Woogie Flu,” “Secret Agent Man,” “Seventh Son,” “Summer Rain,” “Swayin To The Music (Slow Dancin),” “The Tracks Of My Tears” and many more. In 2009 Rivers was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame. http://www.johnnyrivers.com.
Savoy Brown Featuring Kim Simmonds: Legendary … a Blues/Rock institution … true innovators. These are just a few of the ways Savoy Brown has been described over the past forty years by music critics and fans. One of the earliest of British blues bands, Savoy Brown, with founder guitarist Kim Simmonds at the helm, helped launch the 1967 UK blues boom movement that brought blues music back to the USA invigorating the style forever. In the process, the band became part of the framework that launched the rock and roll music of the 1970’s. Their influence now stretches into modern rock as we know it today. http://www.savoybrown.com.
Kenny Neal: Kenny Neal is an acclaimed multi-instrumentalist widely renowned as a modern swamp-blues master. His new release, Hooked On Your Love, follows the triumph of his multi-award winning 2008 comeback album, Let Life Flow. An outstanding success, the CD raked in accolades including three prestigious Album Of The Year awards, two Song Of The Year awards for the title track, and two Artist of the Year honors for Neal. It was clear that Kenny touched something deep in the blues community with his soulful guitar playing and uplifting songwriting, and his hot streak continues. Hooked On Your Love covers the plethora of accomplished roots styles Kenny has become known for: a tasty musical gumbo of swamp-boogie, jazz, R&B, and straight-ahead blues. http://www.kennyneal.net.
Dona Oxford: Santa Claritan Doña Oxford earned her reputation as a top-notch keyboardist and vocalist while playing with such legendary performers as Keith Richards, Bob Weir, Levon Helm, Phil Upchurch, Buddy Guy, Son Seals, Mark Termonti (Creed), Jimmy Vivino (Conan O’Brien Show) and her idol, former Chuck Berry sideman and Father of Rock & Roll Piano, Johnnie Johnson. http://www.donaoxford.com.
Preston Smith & The Crocodiles: The 2013 VCBS IBC Winner, Preston Smith has crafted his own irresistible original songs and colorful stage show. His expressive showmanship and varied musical influences have endeared Smith to fans all over the globe. He keeps the crowd on its feet with eyes glued to the stage, a bluesman to the core. Smith’s music can be heard on Movie soundtracks as well as numerous TV commercials, and he has appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. His snarlin’ guitar sound blends with his screamin’ harmonica work to produce a raw, soulful treat for any music lover. In addition to his guitar, harmonica and vocal work, Preston soars over the solid backbeat set by the tightly wound rhythm section of the Crocodiles.
Michael John And The Bottom Line: Michael John, Founder and President of the Ventura County Blues Society, is also the Founder of the Ventura County Blues Festival and leads his band The Bottom Line. Since the festival’s inception, Michael John & The Bottom Line have performed and donated their music which now has become an annual tradition for the festival kick off. When you combine family and lifelong friends you get a special musical bond that touches the hearts and souls of all music lovers alike. The band consists of Michael John (lead singer, guitar, harmonica), Michael John’s son Mikey Mo (lead guitar), Steve Nelson (electric, stand-up Bass), Eddie Z (tenor, alto sax), Jeff Dellisanti (tenor, baritone sax), and Tom “T-Bone” Broderick (drums, backup vocals). The group attracts people of all ages with their blend of Swing to more contemporary rocking blues. They have received national airplay and have won multiple awards including placing in the top ten bands in the finals for the International Blues Challenge in Memphis Tennessee. In 2006 Michael was awarded the All Access Magazine award for “Best Male Vocalist.” http://www.michaeljohnandthebottomline.com.
Michael John’s Ventura County Blues Festival, formerly the Simi Valley Blues Festival, was the vision of Simi Valley resident Michael John Basowski. John (who also recently founded the Ventura County Blues Society) has been a musician all his life and had always dreamed that someday he could do something which would make an impact on his community.
Being a blues musician, the idea of a blues festival was the ideal way to turn his dream into reality. At the first festival - held in 2006 - Michael John teamed up with the local non-profit organization Write4Hope, who was instrumental in helping with the logistics for the event and made it possible to hold the first three blues festivals in Oak County Park in Simi Valley.
Simi Valley resident musician/actor and celebrity figure Mickey Jones has emceed the Simi Valley Blues Festival every year since its beginning. In addition, Michael John’s family and friends have donated their time and talent to help make this event a yearly success, with over three thousand attendees at the 2012 Simi Valley Blues Festival.