Mojo Morganfield

Joseph "Mojo" Morganfield

Region-based band, The Newports, celebrated the release of its debut album, "The Newports Live At the Acorn," this past week. The concert album was recorded at the Michigan theater last November. It sports 11 cover tracks ranging from reggae (Bob Marley’s “Is This Love”), to soul (“Low Rider,” “Knock on Wood”), to Hendrix (“Little Wing” and “All Along the Watchtower”), to blues of both the classic (Muddy Waters' “Got My Mojo Working”) and contemporary kind (Gary Clark Jr.’s “When My Train Pulls In”).

The Newports -- Mark Rongers, Terry "Sonny Lee" Tritt, Ralph Whipple,  Darryl Neil X, Jeff Sachs, Ed Beard,, Gene Nourie, Jumpin' Gene Halton and Bill Bielby -- have roots going back to their teen years at Thornton Township High School in Harvey.

After decades apart, the guys reconvened five years ago for what they thought would be an enjoyable one-shot open mic performance at the Acorn Theater in Three Oaks. One thing led to another and the band of buddies has been performing regularly ever since, as a nine-piece ensemble. They play a mix of blues, rock, funk, and soul infused with a distinctive Southside Chicago vibe. More: NewportsBluesRockSoul.com.


A tribute to the music and legacy of Chicago Blues icon, Muddy Waters, will be presented on Saturday at The Acorn Theatre (107 Generations Drive) in Three Oaks, Michigan when Waters' youngest son, Joseph "Mojo" Morganfield takes the stage at 8 p.m. with his Region-based blues band, The Mannish Boyz.

"Our live show is billed as an evening of true Chicago Blues and that's what we deliver. Our show is a balance of my father's most famous songs, a few of my personal favorites from his catalog, and songs from my own EP ("Mojo Risin'"). We've just started adding in a few songs from my new full length album coming out this fall," said Morganfield of what an audience can expect to hear at one of his performances. Fresh from performing on WGN-TV, at the Chicago Blues Fest, and soon to be opening for Paul Rodgers & Bad Company at Hammond's Festival of The Lakes on July 19, Morganfield said "things are starting to move fast" as he prepares to drop his new album.

Opening the show for Mojo's Boyz, will be a special duo performance by blues-rock keyboardist/vocalist Stefani Daisy and guitarist Matthew Vitale, both members of the popular South Bend rock band, Sex Robot Divas. Tickets and more: acorn live.com.


• The biggest buzz this week on the local music scene is The City of Hammond's Festival of the Lakes happening July 17-21, where Mayor Tom McDermott, Jr. and his staff present top performers and regional support artists in a series of nightly free concerts. Find the full schedule of events and entertainment online at festivalofthelakes.com.

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• Region air personality John King of Valparaiso' 103.1 WVLP-FM presents and hosts his annual "Livin' It Up Music Festival" this Sunday from 1 to 9 p.m. at Zao Island (1050 Horse Prairie Ave.) in Valparaiso. The event benefits the Porter County Special Olympics. Performances are scheduled by DJ Andy Petrovich, The Hot Rod Heathens, Hessville Star, Ripley Street, Chris & Lou Beatle Experience, Jerica Paliga and Funky MojoDaddy. Tickets $5 available at eventbrite.com or at door.

• It's heavy metal madness this Friday at Hobart's Art Theatre (230 Main St.) in downtown Hobart with back to back bands -- Shelter Line, Lethal Dose, World Ablaze and Dyers Eve -- respectively paying musical tribute to Rage Against The Machine, Mudvayne, Killswitch Engage and Metallica. Tickets for the all ages 7:30 p.m. show are $10 advance/$15 day of show. Of special note to shred guitar fans, will be the six-string talents Kevin M. Buck of Dyers Eve. More: facebook.com/HobartArtTheatre.

• On the topic of The Hobart Art Theater, tickets have just gone on sale for an Aug. 24 all ages performance by the national touring group, Classical Blast (an incredible mash up on classical music and classic rock), whose recent line-up has changed in recent months, has made its live CB concert experience even more incredible. Tickets now on sale for $15 in advance/$20 at the door. More: facebook.com/HobartArtTheatre or facebook.com/Classical-Blast-18264316181268.

• The music of the late, great Tom Petty will be performed by the tribute act, Southern Accents tonight from 7:30-10:30 p.m. as the "2019 Wicker Memorial Park Tribute Concert Series" (Ridge Road & U.S. 41) in Highland continues. Band info: SouthernAccentsBand.com. Tickets for the 21 and older performance are $7. More: 219-932-2530 (ext 324).

• Leroy's Hot Stuff (333 W. U.S. 20) in Porter welcomes the blues rock of guitarist/vocalist Corey Dennison and his self-named band on Friday at 8 p.m. Then on Saturday at 9 p.m., catch classic rock with The Johnny V Trio. More: leroyshotstuff.com or 219-926-6211.

• Line-up change! Sorry to hear that due to a recent health issue, Manny Roselle, front man of the Dixieland Jazz band, Manny & The Crescent City Po' Boys will be unable to perform as scheduled for this Saturday's "Highland Music & Market" event at Main Square Park (3001 Ridge Road) in Highland from 6:30-8 p.m. Stepping in to cover for the Po' Boys will be the always entertaining dance/funk grooves of Keith Jackson & Triple Dose. Keith is first cousin of the famous Jackson Five. Opening from 5-6:15 p.m. is Chicago singer, songwriter Angie Campbell. More: 219-838-0114.

• Tonight's installment of "Lakes of Four Seasons Summer Concert Series" features the female-fronted classic rock band, Breaking Dawn from 6:30 to 9 p.m. With powerhouse vocalist Nekole Muha wielding the microphone, the five-piece group take audiences through a plethora of musical styles -- country, dance pop, hard rock and classic '80s covers from the MTV-era. Lawn chairs or blankets recommended; coolers welcome. Cost: $5 per carload parking, otherwise free to attend. More: facebook.com/breakingdawnband.

• This Friday afternoon from noon to 2 p.m., artists scheduled to perform at this year's Festival Of The Lakes will be profiled on 89.1FM-Lakeshore Public Radio's weekly program, "Midwest BEAT with Tom Lounges." The program streams live in real time at lakeshorepublicmedia.org.

Opinions are solely those of the writer. Reach him at beatboss@aol.com.


Entertainment Editor/Features Reporter

Eloise is A&E Editor and a food, entertainment and features writer for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.