Free live blues music returns to Munster this summer several years after the popular but costly annual “Munster Blues Fest” held at the Town Hall Municipal Complex on Ridge Road came to an end.
Though not a multi-day event like its predecessor, tonight’s “Bluesin’ Into Summer” 7 p.m. concert at the beautiful Centennial Park Entertainment Stage is a free to the public, all ages event. A beer garden is available to those 21 and older and folks are welcome to bring blankets, folding chairs, snacks and non-alcoholic beverages along as they enjoy open air live blues performances by guitarist/vocalist Billy King, The Chicago Kingsnakes and The Wayne Baker Brooks Band.
Wayne Baker Brooks is an international recording and touring artist and also a son of Chicago blues icon, Lonnie Brooks, a veteran show-stopper who had performed on the Town Hall steps during the original Munster Blues Fest years.
The young firebrand bluesman has followed in the footsteps of his famous father and elder brother Ronnie Baker Brooks, to become part of the Brooks Blues Family Dynasty now a cornerstone of the modern Chicago blues scene.
The Chicago Kingsnakes – veterans of the Chicago Blues Fest and global tours -- are celebrating their 30th Anniversary this summer and recently performed on ABC-TV/Channel 7 as part of that celebration. The group’s live set will heavily feature songs from their latest original music CD, “Blue Mosaic,” but also feature selected tunes from some of their previous 12 albums.
Tonight’s concert under the stars opens with guitarist/vocalist Billy King, also an international recording and touring artist with a long history in the Chicago blues community that dates back to the late 1960s.
“I used to sit on the curb outside of blues clubs in Old Town when I was too young to get in,” he said. “The bands would be playing and the doors were open and I just soaked up all the blues I could from Muddy, Buddy, Junior and all those guys.”
The Chicago Kingsnakes was the back-up band for classic bluesmen Byther Smith and Lefty Dizz, and even pays tribute to Dizz on their new CD with the song, “Lefty,” which the group will perform at tonight’s concert.
Together these three artists are a great way to work the blues back into the now annual Centennial Park Summer Concert Series. “We’re happy to be helping to bring the blues back to Munster this summer,” said Kingsnakes band leader/guitarist Jim “Ang” Anderson.
“We’ll be there to blues it up,” said Wayne Baker Brooks when his band was requested to perform at tonight’s event. “I’m looking forward to it.”
This columnist is so excited to see live blues back in Munster that a front row seat is just not good enough. Count on seeing me on stage as the guest emcee for this evening’s public celebration of the most American of all musics, as region music fans get “Bluesin’ Into Summer.” More: www.munster.org or (219) 836-7275.
• Gary’s reunited rock icons of the 1960s -- Oscar and the Majestics – will perform a few concert in the park at Highland’s Main Square Park Gazebo from 7 to 9 p.m. June 20.
“In case of inclement weather, the show WILL go on,” said the band’s guitarist/namesake Oscar Hamod. After being disappointed when their concert last August at the Lake County Fair got rained out, Hamod made arrangements this time to move the June 20 gig indoors to the nearby Lincoln Center should stormy skies roll into Highland. More: www.oscarandthemajestics.com
• Chicago-based goth-rock group Thanatos has officially released a new collection of original music, “The Exterminating Angel,” the group’s first new album in more than a decade. The tracks were mostly recorded between 2005-2008 and the lead track, “Homage to Catalonia,” was inspired in part by the George Orwell book of the same name.
• Planning to see Creedence Clearwater Revisited when they perform June 28 at Hammond’s Wolf Lake Pavilion? Then be sure to tune in tonight at 6 p.m. to “Midwest BEAT with Tom Lounges” on 89.1FM – The Lakeshore, as I welcome Stu Cook, CCR’s co-founder and a certified Rock And Roll Hall Of Famer as my musical guest. Stream the program live at: www.lakeshorepublicmedia.org/radio