The Out of Favor Boys will release their latest CD on June 16 at Old Dog Tavern in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The self-titled album, their fourth studio release, features 14 new original songs written by the band over the past two years.

The new CD, titled Out of Favor Boys, was recorded principally at JoyRide Studio in Chicago and was produced by Pete Galanis. Guest musicians on the recording include Galanis and Michigan blues legend Larry McCray.

After the June 16 CD release party, the band will promote the new CD at music series, bars, and festivals throughout Michigan. Dates include:

·         June 24 – Marshall Blues Festival – Marshall, Michigan
·         June 27 – Rogue River Blues Series – Rockford, Michigan
·         July 6 – Felt Mansion Concert Series – Holland, Michigan
·         July 16 – Kalamazoo Blues Festival – Kalamazoo, Michigan

The Out of Favor Boys are a contemporary blues band based in Kalamazoo that has been performing in and around Michigan for more than 13 years. They’ve shared the stage with many national blues acts, including Tab Benoit, Tommy Castro, Magic Slim, Carl Weathersby, and too many others to list.

More information can be found at outoffavorboys.com or at facebook.com/outoffavorboy.



Blues Great Jimmy Thackery Coming to The Franke Center on April 22

On Saturday, April 22, the Franke Center for the Arts in Marshall is excited to present blues

Jimmy Thackery

great Jimmy Thackery and The Drivers as part of the Eaton Blues Series. Festivities for the evening will start at 7:00 PM in the Downstage Club with acoustic blues featuring Hunt and Gator, followed by the main stage show at 8:00 PM. Tickets are $26 advance, $28 at the door, and students are half price.

Thackery is one of the few blues guitarists still performing who learned firsthand from the masters of the blues. Early in his career, he played several years with the legendary Muddy Waters Band. Later, he helped found the well-known band The Nighthawks, and he recorded three albums with his all-star R&B and funk band, The Assassins.
In 1992, Thackery put together a three-piece band called The Drivers to highlight his

Hunt & Gator

explosive guitar, and together they hit the blues highway. Since then, he has recorded eight discs on the Blind Pig label, and he continues a busy schedule of live performances.
Whether Jimmy Thackery headlines a festival in South Dakota or jams for hours in one of the numerous blues bars that dot the musical landscape, he’ll always unleash an intense volley of rockin’ blues guitar guaranteed to leave crowds emotionally spent. His double-edged guitar dynamics allow him to fire off tracer missiles, bend a note so it will fit under a limbo bar, run off dive bomber riffs, and find space within the trembling of one stinging note. As Thackery puts it, “I put all my senses on hold and find the zone and follow what’s inside. There’s an electricity from your mind to your heart to your fingers. You just try and remember to breathe!”
The Franke Center for the Arts is an intimate, acoustically superb 270-seat theater located in downtown historic Marshall, Michigan. With top-shelf shows like Savoy Brown, Laith Al-Saadi, and now Jimmy Thackery, this unique venue is quickly becoming one of the best listening rooms in the Midwest. Reserve your seats by calling the Franke Center box office at 269-781-0001, or visiting the website at www.frankecenterforthearts.org. Make your plans now to be at the Franke on April 22 for this legendary performer!

Thornetta Davis, Out of Favor Boys to Headline Franke Center Winter Blues Festival February 4, 2107

The Franke Center for the Arts is excited to announce blues great Thornetta Davis as the

Thornetta Davis

Thornetta Davis

headliner for the Winter Blues Festival, to be held on Saturday, February 4, 2017. This event returns to its Michigan roots with special guests Keith Scott and the Out of Favor Boys, supporting Davis for a diverse evening of blues music. Tickets for the event are $26 advance, $28 at the door, and students are half price.

Festivities for the evening begin at 5:00 PM in the Downstage Club, featuring acoustic blues with New Buffalo singer/songwriter Keith Scott. Beer, wine, soft drinks, and a BBQ dinner from Zarzuala will be available for purchase. The main stage shows will start at 7:00 PM, featuring Kalamazoo’s Out of Favor Boys. After a short intermission,
Thornetta Davis and her band will take the stage, bringing one of Detroit’s best blues bands to the Franke.

Blues musician Keith Scott has been at his craft for the last 30 years. Originally from White

Out of Favor Boys

Out of Favor Boys

Plains, New York, he made it to college in Gainesville, Florida, where he met Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley. With the inspiration of his music heroes he proceeded to relocate to Chicago to pursue his musical journey. While hanging on the scene at the Checkerboard Lounge and Teresa’s, Keith met and jammed with blues legends such as Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, James Cotton and Little Milton. Now located in New Buffalo, Michigan, Keith tours, records and performs his own brand of blues-inspired music at clubs including the House of Blues and Hard Rock Cafe, and at festivals throughout the US and Canada.

Since coming together in 2003, the Out of Favor Boys have developed a reputation as an entertaining, interactive and energetic contemporary blues band with every venue from bars to festivals to private parties, and everything in between. The OFB first performed in the Franke’s Downstage Club as a trio two years ago, and we are delighted to have their full 5-piece band back as a show on our main stage.

For over twenty years, Detroit’s “Queen of the Blues”, Thornetta Davis, has graced and dominated Michigan’s most attended events. She has performed over two hundred shows a year with grace and stamina. Her voice is strong, commanding, melodic and smooth. She tells her stories with incredible delivery and leaves her audiences wanting more. She first gained attention in 1987 when she became backup singer for Detroit soul band “Lamont Zodiac and The Love Signs”. In 1996 Thornetta recorded her first solo album “Sunday Morning Music” on the Seattle based label “Sub Pop”, which received a rave review in the national Entertainment Weekly magazine. The song “Cry” from that album was featured on the HBO hit cable drama “The Sopranos”. Thornetta has opened for legendary blues and R&B greats such as Ray Charles, Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson, Etta James, Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, Junior Wells, Lonnie Brooks, Johnnie Johnson and many more. Her history is extensive and her performances are memorable…like the time she opened for Bonnie Raitt at Michigan’s Ann Arbor Blues & Jazz festival in 1992. Bonnie asked Thornetta to join her and Katie Webster (queen of the swamp boogie) for an encore song which received a standing ovation. Thornetta has won over 20 Music Awards over the last 15 years, and is one of the most celebrated Detroit musicians of all time. We are delighted to have her as part of the 2017 Winter Blues Festival!

Tickets are $26 in advance, $28 at the door and can be purchased by calling the box office at 269-781-0001. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.frankecenterforthearts.org. As always, student tickets are half price.

The Franke Center for the Arts is a small, 270 seat theater located in historic downtown Marshall, MI. Unlike a night club, the show experience at the Franke focuses on the talent and music of the performers in an intimate setting, and is quickly becoming one of the Midwest’s premier Blues listening rooms. Make your plans now to come and “hang out” at the Franke Center for this Evening of Blues on February 4!

Blues/Rock Legend Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown Coming to Franke Center on November 19

The Franke Center for the Arts in Marshall is excited to bring the legendary Kim Simmonds and Savoy Brown to the main stage for a concert on Saturday, November 19, 2016. Contemporaries of the Rolling Stones, The Beatles, and Eric Clapton during the formative

Kim Simmonds

Kim Simmonds

years of the classic rock movement in the late 60’s and early 70’s, Savoy Brown remains the longest continuously running band from the era. Festivities for the evening begin at 7:00 PM in the Downstage Club, featuring acoustic blues with Doug Beckman from Kalamazoo, where beer, wine, and soft drinks will be available. The main stage show starts at 8:00 PM. Tickets are $28 in advance, $30 at the door, and students are half price.

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. The band recorded their first singles in 1966 and quickly followed up with the landmark album “Shakedown”. The band recorded numerous songs that became radio staples, including “I’m Tired”, “Louisiana Blues”, and the four now classics “Tell Mama”, “Street Corner Talking”, “All I Can Do Is Cry” and “I Can’t Get Next To You”, which took the band to platinum status and placed them in front of wildly enthusiastic rock audiences in arenas all over the world. Savoy Brown’s Michigan connection began with a live show in Detroit in the late 60’s, and they captured, forever, the spirit of the music on the live side on “A Step Further” (1969) with a twenty-minute boogie “The Savoy Brown Boogie” dedicated to fans in Detroit. Going into 2013 Simmonds has returned to a three piece band once again, singing and playing guitar along with Pat DeSalvo on bass and Garnet Grimm on drums.
The Franke Center for the Arts is an intimate, historic, 270 seat theater in downtown Marshall, Michigan, and is quickly becoming known as one of the premier small concert venues in the Midwest. Make your plans now to be at The Franke on November 19 for a great evening of music with one of the music world’s true legends! Tickets can be purchased online at www.frankecenterforthearts.org, or from the box office at 269-781-0001.

Franke Center Blues Series continues October 22 with Kelly Richey Band

The Franke Center for the Arts in Marshall is excited to announce the first Eaton Blues Series concert of the 2016/2017 season on Saturday, October 22, featuring the Kelly Richey Band.


Kelly Richey is known for her engaging stage presence and high energy live shows, and this promises to be a great evening of hot blues at The Franke. Festivities for the evening begin at 7:00 PM in the Downstage Club, featuring local musician Cliff Babcock, where beer, wine, and soft drinks will be available. The main stage show starts at 8:00 PM. Tickets are $22 in advance, $24 at the door, and students are half price.
Based in Cincinnati, Kelly Richey is one of the hardest working independent musicians in the business. During her 28- year professional career, which began at the age of 15, she has logged over a million miles touring and has performed as many as 275 days out of the year. She has been described as “Stevie Ray Vaughan trapped in a woman’s body with Janis Joplin screaming to get out”. She has been listed as among the top 100 gifted guitarists by the Truefire Community in 2011, and frequently draws comparisons to blues icons Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Richey has shared the stage with such legends as Lonnie Mack and Albert King, and has opened for Joe Cocker, Johnny Winter, Edgar Winter, Walter Trout, Little Feat, Foghat, REO Speedwagon, George Thorogood, Average White Band, Robben Ford, Warren Zevon, and James Brown.
Playing live is where Richey shines, literally bringing down the house at every show she plays. She also is a seasoned songwriter, weaving together gritty blues-based rock and Americana-ish roots-based music that’s filled with introspection and cutting emotion. Born in 1962, Richey’s musical roots began with the Black gospel music she heard in church as a youth, and later on by artists like Roy Buchanan, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin. Blues had the raw soul that she deeply connected to and that gave her a musical platform for her emotional intensity to let loose, unfettered.

Asked what she feels when she plays, Richey responds with a broad smile, “When everything is working, I get to go away, like floating in a cloud”, and indeed it shows; watching her play is a joy in itself.
The Franke Center for the Arts is an intimate, historic, 270 seat theater in downtown Marshall, Michigan, and is quickly becoming known as one of the premier small concert venues in the Midwest. Make your plans now to be at The Franke on October 22 for a great evening of blues! Tickets can be purchased online at www.frankecenterforthearts.org, or from the box office at 269-781-0001.

Presenting the 2016 Kalamazoo Blues Challenge! Sunday, September 25, Shakespeare’s Lower Level

Amays & Blue

Amays & Blue

Seven Area Blues Acts Compete To Appear At The 2017 International Blues Challenge In Memphis

Don’t miss one of the most exciting blues events of the season, when the Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association once again presents the Kalamazoo Blues Challenge!  As many of you blues fans know, this is the chance for area bands and solo-duo acts to compete to represent the KVBA on the competition stages in Memphis, Tennessee at the International Blues Challenge, the “largest gathering of blues musicians and fans in

Kev Nichols

Kev Nichols

the world”.  Previous Kalamazoo Blues Challenge winners include last year’s Kev Nichols & Blue Tuesday (band) and Amays & Blue (solo-duo act), as well as such well-known names as Seventh Son, Crossroads Resurrection, Marci Linn Band, Chris Canas Band, and Out of Favor Boys.

All the performers appearing on Sunday will be presenting their “a” game, putting forth their very best effort to win.  IBC judging rules will apply, with performers required to follow time limits and other standards that the winning acts will need to follow on the competition stages in Memphis.

All the action happens at Shakespeare’s Lower Level in Kalamazoo on Sunday, IMG_1284September 25!  Doors open at 2:00, and the music starts at 2:30.  Check out the lineup below, and the impressive level of talent that will be on hand:

2:30 – 3:00:   Alex Mays

3:15 – 3:45:   Brendan Sweeney

4:00 – 4:30:   Steve Hilger Unplugged

4:45 – 5:15:   Hunt & Gator

5:30 – 6:00:    Kev Nichols & Blue Tuesday

6:15 – 6:45:    Skinny Hodge

7:00 – 7:30:    Blue Veins

$8.00 gets you in the door to hear all seven acts, not to mention enjoy your fellow blues fans and take in the great food, drink and hospitality at Shakespeare’s.  All proceeds go to support the Kalamazoo Blues Festival and other KVBA activities.

It’s going to be a great time, so put Sunday, September 25 on your calendar, and plan to come down to Shakespeare’s for the Kalamazoo Blues Challenge!  See you there!


The KVBA Member Benefits Program

Get discounts on a wide variety of products and services around the Kalamazoo area with your KVBA member card!

We would like to welcome the newest members of our Member Benefit Program.
We encourage our members to patronize these wonderful businesses that support the blues In Kalamazoo. Use your KVBA membership card to obtain your discount. Remember: Don’t leave home without it!!


346 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, MI  49007



10% off purchase


434 S. Burdick St., Kalamazoo, MI  49007


Email:  cilc@tds.net

10 % off all picture framing


1156 S. Burdick St.
Kalamazoo, MI 49001



10% off entire bill


Currently available exclusively at the Wednesday 
Farmer’s Market outside the co-op in Kalamazoo.

Email:  kalamazoosausageco@gmail.com

10 % discount on all products


4419 S. Westnedge Ave., 
Kalamazoo, MI 49008


10% off all purchases up to $10.00


2497 Patterson Rd., Shelbyville, MI 49344

(269) 251-0773

10% off purchase

Click here for a complete list of member benefit providers, or go to kvba.org and click on the “Membership” tab.


Blues Workshops:  Friday July 8 and Saturday July 9


Dave Hunt

The Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association is proud, once again, to present our popular

series of Blues Workshops at the 23rd annual Kalamazoo Blues Festival. These lessons are free to everyone and last between 45 minutes and an hour. Your instructors are local working blues musicians who are happy to share their knowledge. Each seminar is a self-contained lesson and it is not necessary to attend any additional lessons. We’ve designed these seminars so that one can enjoy and learn cumulatively from all of them. Even if you don’t play an instrument and never intend to, these seminars will enhance your listening enjoyment of blues music.

Friday 6:00-8:00 pm:  Special Presentation: Womenfolk & Blues, featuring Patricia

Pettinga and Bill Willging

In Womenfolk & Blues, musicians Patricia Pettinga and Bill Willging focus on select, early

Patricia Pettinga and Bill Willging

Patricia Pettinga and Bill Willging

female blues artists–from Mother of the Blues “Ma Rainey” to Ethel Waters–combining PowerPoint illustrated life stories with live performance. The workshop informs, entertains and inspires, as it honors these women and their contributions to American culture and the blues tradition.
Patricia Pettinga began her professional music career in the late ’70’s with the acoustic blues trio McDuff. Since then, she has performed solo and with groups, honing her songwriting craft and recording three CDs. Her music honors the folk and blues tradition and carries it forward. She accompanies herself on guitar, with her husband Bill Willging adding guitar rhythms and leads.

Saturday 4:00 pm: DIDDLE IT! DIY Instruments for Jamming on a Budget with Tim

Dave Allemang

Dave Allemang

Brouhard of Out of Favor Boys and Tom Fuller.
Join the DIY (do it yourself) revolution! Learn how to build and play some of the instruments which have inspired blues legends. Come and experience Cigar Box guitars, Canjos, Diddly-bos, Boomboards, Wash Tub Basses and more. And get a DIY instrument to take home with you!

Saturday 5:00 pm: BLUES HARMONICA with Dave Hunt of Seventh Son
You’ll be playing songs within the first 10 minutes! Topics include; chords, playing a single note, bending notes, scales,

Bryan Blowers

Bryan Blowers

octaves, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd positions, and how to do that train thing. Also, examine Dave’s unique collection of unusual harmonicas. More experienced harmonica players are invited for further discussion and play at the conclusion of the seminar.

Saturday 6:00 pm: BLUES GUITAR with Dave Allemang of Crossroads 

(Bring your own guitar!) You will learn the blues fundamentals for beginning and intermediate level guitarists. Topics include 12-bar blues structure, alternate chordings, and rhythmic grooves.

Saturday 7:00 pm: SLIDE GUITAR/DOBRO with Al Bates and Bryan Blowers, graduate of WMU School of Music and former member of WMU Jazz Band
The sound of a slide guitar is one of the most distinctive in the blues. Learn the classic licks, riffs, and various tunings in this workshop.

Children’s Tent: Activities and Projects, Saturday noon-5pm

T-shirt dying at the Children's Tent

T-shirt dying at the Children’s Tent

A variety of fun things for kids (and adults) to do, from face-painting to t-shirt dying to a variety of art projects and activities, all just waiting for you under the KVBA Children’s Tent.  Located on the east side of the Festival site next to the food vendors, the Children’s Tent offers fun for all!

The KVBA Presents Blues In The Schools

by Lynn Headapohl

The Kalamazoo Valley Blues Association is proud to be able to announce the long-awaited

Susan Harrison, KVBA Blues In Schools presentor, jamming with students at Spring Valley Center for Exploration

Susan Harrison, KVBA Blues In Schools presentor, jamming with students at Spring Valley Center for Exploration

re-launch of its “Blues In Schools” program. The KVBA generously sponsored 3 classroom presentations with performance artist Susan Harrison in early June at Spring Valley Center for Exploration in Kalamazoo, as the school year came to a celebratory close.

Martha Serio, of Communities In Schools at the Center was eager to facilitate our Blues In Schools presentation. As a site coordinator at the school for 7 years, she has always embraced the value of introducing programs to enrich the lives of the students in her community.

“Blues in Schools” is an interactive program that engages children in an art form of the American people. It was born out of a desire for expression, telling stories that express individual emotions that swell with rhythm, syncopation, poetry and spirit.

This demonstration was an interactive presentation with music and conversation exploring the roots and culture of American blues music presented to 1st and 2nd grade students. The program spanned 50 minutes. The presentation was a combination of humanities and music, while touching on the performance value to the students. KVBA was happy to bring the students this experience and give them an insight into this American music form.

Susan Harrison understands that learning can be fun! As an educator
she has taught teachers how to use music, movement and drama across
the curriculum, and she vows to never quit learning. She is an award-winning songwriter, author, performance artist and founder of Palamazoo Puppet and Music Productions. The KVBA is happy to have her share her joy with your students.

Educator Jaime Hall commented:
“I thought the presentation was delightful and educational. The kids had FUN!! They were engaged throughout the entire program. Thank you so much for including us. It was a wonderful opportunity for the kids to learn about the blues!”

Our aim, with this program, is to further proliferate an education in this American roots music and give all students a chance to experience freedom of expression in a positive way. If you would like more information on the “Blues In Schools” project, and have an interest in bringing this presentation to your school and learning how your students can benefit and join in the fun, please contact Lynn at bluesinschools@kvba.org.

The Blues Music Awards (BMA)

by Ralph Yingling, KVBA President

Over the years, one of the things that makes folks scratch their heads has been the notion BF-affiliate-300x233of a BMA nominee/winner (formerly called a WC Handy nominee/winner – which caused a like amount of confusion). What is a BMA and what makes it so special? I will attempt to clear up some of that in a few paragraphs…

A BMA (Blues Music Award) is to the blues industry what a Grammy is to the larger music industry. The BMA attempts to recognize the “best of the best” in a number of categories of blues music (27 categories that include acoustic, instrumentalists, best new artist, performer of the year, etc.) which are selected by a panel of nominators. The nominators are carefully-screened blues experts, consisting of blues radio programmers, print media representatives, retailers, educators, photographers, festival presenters, talent buyers, and other blues aficionados who attend many live performances and actively listen to the majority of blues recordings issued in any given year. The nominators are chosen from the Blues Foundation’s membership, with a focus on geographical balance and extent of involvement within the blues genre. Most are from the United States, but there are also nominators from Canada, Europe and Central America.

The process includes a 2-stage nominating round, making sure that the nominee is in the KBA-Recipient-680pxcorrect category and making sure that nominators don’t have a conflict of interest, with nominators selecting up to 3 nominees in each category. At the end of the process, the top 5 nominees in each category appear on a final ballot which is made available online in mid-December. Voting by the Blues Foundation’s 4,000-strong membership begins then, and continues to March 1. The winners are chosen by people who are active blues fans from all over the world.

In May the awards show is held in Memphis. Artistically, it is the premier blues music event in the world. It is the one and only national, even international, blues music awards show. The primary goals are, like any other awards show, to honor the best of the past year and focus public attention on the art form.

At this year’s Kalamazoo Blues Festival you will have several BMA nominees, including: The Cash Box Kings; Royal Southern Brotherhood; Anthony Geraci, Monster Mike Welch, and Michael “Mudcat” Ward (all three from Sugar Ray and the Bluetones); Karen Lovely, and Sugar Ray and The Bluetones. It’s an impressive line-up, and one of the many things that promises that the 23rd Annual Kalamazoo Blues Festival is going to be a GREAT show!!