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Blues

Charlie Auringer

In 1969, the blues threw a party in Ann Arbor.

James Partridge, founder of the Ann Arbor Blues Society, calls that party “the first blues festival ever.”

Enough people came that it happened again, and again, and became the Ann Arbor Blues Festival, later re-christened the Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival. Its last hurrah came in 2006.

But this year, musicians will breathe new life into that festival, as they work to reignite the energy that pulsed through the crowds so many years ago.

Courtesy of Monroe County Library System

 

Each February, the libraries in Monroe undergo a transformation. The Black History Month Blues Festival turns these sedate study spaces into concert spaces full of “laughing, singing, clapping,” and “stomping,” said Bill Reiser, the library manager at Ellis Library in Monroe.

Pam Rossi's new book collects her conversations with musicians on her radio show Over Easy.
Flickr user Ministerio TIC Colombia / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

Pam Rossi has produced and hosted Over Easy on Detroit classic rock station WCSX for the last 12 years. The show brings local, national and international musicians into the studio to talk and perform.

Now, she’s sharing those great conversations with great musicians in her book, Conversations with Pam Rossi.

Doug Coombe

Every Sunday during the spring and summer months, you can swing by John’s Carpet House in Detroit, and hear some of the best local blues musicians jam for free. But John's Carpet House is not a house, it's actually a field, located in an area called Poletown, where I-75 and I-94 meet.

The music happens all day long, as a roster of musicians rotate on and off the tiny stage that’s set up in a grassy area.

Joel Mabus is a maverick in the folk music world, with a career so eclectic and varied he defies any easy pigeonhole.
Jeff Mitchell

Joel Mabus grew up writing, singing, and playing the blues in Southern Illinois.

Though he grew up in the midst of Beatlemania, Mabus always felt drawn to the tunes of Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs, among others.

He now lives in Portage, outside Kalamazoo, and has just released his new album, A Bird In This World.