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July 2015 - Turn it Up - 10th ANNUAL ANIMAS RIVER BLUES & BREWS FEST

Time to Get Down with the BLUES! Once in awhile everyone gets the blues, but on July 18th Aztec, New Mexico will have the Blues all day long. We're talkin' down home, soul rockin', gut clenchin' Blues Music.

When you think of great live blues music most people will conjure up visions of Chicago or the Mississippi Delta area but no longer are those boundaries exclusive. Aztec, a small town with a big love for live music, has been the host city for the Animas River Blues & Brews Fest for the past nine years. Take a look at this year’s performers:

Harlis Sweetwater Band (Huntington Beach, California)

Harlis Sweetwater, as a singer /guitarist/ songwriter and frontman, has shared the stage with everyone from Jimmie Vaughan, ZZ Top, Los Lobos Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Everlast, and Brian Setzer to R&B/Blues legends Etta James, James Cotton, and Wilson Pickett to name a few.

He has been called "the best singer in any genre" by music critic Robert Kinsler of the OC Register, While SugarBuzz Magazine had this to say: "From the heart, Harlis Sweetwater,you know instantly the real deal is upon you. This man knows the blues." Recently CBS online named Harlis one of Orange County's best singer songwriters.He enlisted fellow musicians Jimmy Sena on Drums and Jason Holser playing Bass; both with extensive recording and performing experience, to lay down a solid foundation of groove for His wild, bluesy & intense guitar playing and husky soulful voice. The group often times plays with the 3 piece horn section of Geoff Yeaton (Saxophone) , Jed Thurkettle (Trombone) and Ken Effrem Shaw (Trumpet) known as the "Voodoo Horns”

The chemistry of the bands players makes for high energy performances that both entertain and mesmerize, and often times the party on stage rivals the one in the audience, making the Harlis Sweetwater Band one of the more fun and entertaining bands to see live.

Kelly Richey (Ohio)

Kelly Richey has been described as “Stevie Ray Vaughan trapped in a woman’s body with Janis Joplin screaming to get out.” Kelly matches her gifted technique with a passion for music that borders on being possessed. Her powerful guitar chops capture audiences with blisteringly precise guitar leads. Kelly has shared the stage with such legends as Albert King, Lonnie Mack, Julie Wolf, and Sara Lee (from the B-52’s). She has opened for Robben Ford, Joe Cocker, Johnny Winter, Edgar Winter, Walter Trout, Little Feat, Foghat, REO Speedwagon, George Thorogood, Average White Band, Warren Zevon, and James Brown. Kelly has perfected her unique style over years of touring and on 15 albums.

Kelly’s stadium-worthy alto and the intensity of her playing has made her an award-winning musician’s musician–and one of the best blues guitarists making music today.

The Michael Lee Band (Texas)

Michael Lee was born and raised in Bedford, Texas where he grew up appreciating music and was always drawn to the style of music heard in his childhood home. Michael started formal music training in junior high where he joined the band and played alto sax. Michael continued to play saxophone through high school, but also picked up the guitar and began to teach himself in the styles of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eric Clapton, BB King, Buddy Guy, and many other classic rock and blues artist.

Michael began honing his skills by playing many of the area clubs. Michael has played with many notable musicians such as Buddy Whittington, Holland K Smith, Jackie Don Loe, Rusty Burns, Joe Jonas, Mouse Mayes, Hash Brown, Blue Lisa, Voodoo Blue and Chris Watson to name a few.

Michae's love of the Blues started early with the music of his parents. "I recall being pulled out of Pre-School to go see BB King in concert. There was some headliner that at the time I didn't know but knew BB King was the man and I was so thrilled to see the king." Michael picked up the guitar and saxophone at the same time when he was 12 years old. He learned to play by ear with the guitar and read the charts with the saxophone. Getting a large dose of music everywhere he turned from the local music scene. Michael decided he had to learn to sing and start his own solo band.

In April of 2014 Michael released his debut self titled album "Michael Lee". This album is a "Record" as he likes to put it. "It's a record and it's exactly that! A record in time of everything I have ever done up until this point. It sums me up in 11 songs.” This album is all original music written by Michael, and it is a peek into the man's soul.

Bill “HOWL-N-MADD” Perry (Mississippi)

Born in 1947, Abbeville, Mississippi's Bill "Howl-N-Madd" Perry has been playing blues, soul and gospel for over 3 decades. Through the years, his path has crossed with many musical legends, including Willie Dixon, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Johnny Taylor, Little Milton, Chuck Berry, Buddy Guy and more. As a young man, he received informal blues training from legends like Sonny Thompson (who wrote many Freddy King hits) and Cash McCall, and his musical career since then has taken him all over the U.S. and overseas. He's been featured on both TV and radio, and he currently hosts the "Blues Trekkers" weekly blues TV show in Oxford, MS.

Perry’s band includes his daughter Sharo and his son Bill Jr. who are each noted on the Mississippi Blues Highway marker in Oxford. The band generally comprises from five to seven talented musicians. The band performs a fun Juke Joint style music which keeps most people on the dance floor.

"I've been doing this for a long time. Hopefully, it shows. I'm just playing the blues I love. When the audience starts smiling and dancing, then I know I've got ‘em!"

Bill’s show is mostly original songs with some of the favorite cover songs included. His most recent CD The Clarksdale Sessions (produced by Grammy nominated Gary Vincent at The Clarksdale Soundstage) features songs which take Bill Howl-N-Madd Perry into new territory musically. His songs Saturday Night, Delta Women, and Reason to Believe as well as others on the CD are already becoming big hits with the fans.

The Austin Young Band (Colorado)

Austin Lee Young, a Colorado native, picked up his first guitar at age 12 and hasn’t put it down since. Self taught, he displays his music in each and every performance with electrifying passion! He engages his audience on a level that can match any seasoned performer who currently draws large crowds and leaves everything on the stage! His inspirations run the gauntlet of the Blues from historical giants such as Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf to contemporary masters like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan and applauding modern day guitarists, Dereck Trucks and Joe Bonamassa.

Although you would expect a young artist to rely heavily on an array of music covers, Austin has self produced two albums to date and performs much of his original material at live shows. His repertoire of musical composition is varied but he always keeps the blues basics entrenched within every song. His stage presence and the relationship that he builds with his audience leaves all with extreme appreciation for music and a feeling of anticipation for the “next time”!

Austin Young and his band perform locally and nationally in established music clubs, numerous festivals, private functions and special events. He incorporates the sheer honesty of the blues and performs it with a modern, high energy sound that remains faithful to its traditional roots. He is excited to be a part of “keeping the blues alive”!

This outdoor festival goes from 12 noon - 10pm on Saturday July 18, 2015 at Riverside Park is located at 500 S. Lightplant Rd. in Aztec, NM. General Admission is $22.00. New this year is a VIP seating area under a huge tent with tables, chairs and other amenities included in the price. Kids 12 and under are FREE - kids play area is at the Park RV spaces are $10.00 (spaces are limited). Plenty of Food, Brews, Wine and art & craft vendors on site to complete your day. Tickets and info available at:

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