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Eric Sanders/ Visions of a Dream: Blog

The night featured the Band Perry, but Here Come the Mummies stole the evening show at the Bud Light Stage with the largest crowd ever at the stage. Dixie Fuller, Riverbend’s Production Manager, hit yet another homerun with the guys in gauze. Thousands packed the parking lot in front of the stage at 7:45 p.m. to see the Mummies work their way right through the middle of the crowd in a drum line and proceed to the stage. The eight band members then put on a show for the ages – one that will have Chattanooga talking for a long time. Several of the Mummies, so fired up over the crowd in front of them, even went to the merchandise booth and posed for pictures, danced, and signed autographs long into the night.


On sweet-tea night, Chris Tomlin proved why he is the big star in Christian music at this moment. With a huge crowd scattered on the riverbank, Tomlin even made mention that he never envisioned such a turnout. Fresh off a new Grammy win, Chris Tomlin was welcomed to Chattanooga by the crowd and a sand sculpture up the Riverbend Beach.

Earlier this year, the Texas native and his band received their first Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album for "And If Our God Is for Us." They were nominated for Grammys in four other categories.

Billboard also honored Tomlin this year as a finalist for Top Christian Artist and the band's song "Our God" for Top Christian Song. In addition, he and his band have received 20 Dove Awards or nominations since 2005.

Among his best-known songs are "How Great Is Our God," "Jesus Messiah," "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)" and the recent "Our God."

Also performing this evening are Burning Alter, Mercy Call, The Museum, As Isaac, Ryan Wynne and Co-Love.


This one day event is a collaboration between Riverbend Festival and the Bessie Smith Cultural Center, features blues bands, barbecue, beer and access to a variety of nightclubs all on Martin Luther King blvd.. The Strut will be held on Monday, June 11th, with gates opening at 4:00 p.m.. The Strut is known to be jam-packed, and offers lots of great people-watching. It has been characterized in past years by ‘people getting along’ and having a good time. Performing this year are Ike Stubblefield, Joe Louis Walker, Lionel Young Band and Hadden Sayers.

Hammond B3 virtuoso Ike Stubblefield is a music industry legend. With almost 50 years in the business, you may think he’s seen and done it all, but he’s just getting started.

He cut his teeth backing Motown legends like the Four Tops, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Martha Reeves, Stevie Wonder and Rare Earth. He lent his soulful R&B style to Al Green, Ike & Tina Turner, Curtis Mayfield, B.B. King, The Pointer Sisters and George Benson, and helped create the classic B3 sound that others would imitate for generations to come. In 2010, he collaborated with Grammy-winning Atlanta soul man Cee Lo Green, recording organ and keyboards on 9 tracks.

These days, the B3 icon and mini-Moog master stays busy jamming with Papa Mali in New Orleans, rocking with Big Hat in Nashville and producing out of his Atlanta studio. Drawing from his recent time with the Derek Trucks Band and years on the road as a musician-for-hire, Stubblefield is finding his true passion collaborating with old friends and bringing the loose ends of an illustrious career together on his new project, The Ike Stubblefield Trio.

“I’m combining all elements of my 46 years of playing,” said Stubblefield. “My style’s kind of all over the place so it’s not a jam band, or jazz or funk necessarily, but it has all those elements.”

Stubblefield’s craft and ingenuity on the keys landed him a plethora of jobs within the music field. Always busy with a new project, his career twists and turns have involved writing and scoring music for commercials, TV shows and film; founding clubs in Vancouver, Toledo and Atlanta; and performing as one of the world’s premier organ players.

“The B3 organ at the hands of a player like Ike Stubblefield becomes a force of nature,” one reviewer wrote following his headlining of the 2011 Savannah Music Festival.

A fixture of San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in the early 1970s, Stubblefield broadened his sound to fit the rock stylings of Janis Joplin, Eric Clapton, Jerry Garcia, Rod Stewart and Boz Scaggs. His reputation as a musician’s musician ensured his spot at the top of industry insiders’ lists of the most sought-after supporting band mates.

After traveling the world as a performing artist, Stubblefield took to the studio in 1976, producing, composing and writing songs with the likes of Phil Spector and Quincy Jones. Other world-famous collaborators would include Jim Capaldi of Traffic and singer-songwriter/guitarist Larry Lee.

Following 13 years of studio work through the 80s, Stubblefield spent much of the 90s performing in jazz clubs across the Pacific Northwest like Vancouver’s The Purple Onion and Seattle’s Jazz Alley with his band Is Not Was. After relocating to Atlanta in 2001, he Packed folks in at The Roxy, Variety Playhouse and The Dogwood Festival.

After 10 years of fighting with Cancer , Ike's back up and running stronger than ever..kicking off 2012 with a new CD, featuring 5, new 2012 Grammy winners performing on it, and he himself performing on 29 Cd's last year CeeLo, Jimmy Herring and most recent Ruthie Foster"s "Let It Burn" to name a few...

But no matter the job, Stubblefield continues to earn accolades from his peers and critics alike.

Ike Stubblefied is more than just a performer, he’s an artist in the true sense of the word, and whether writing, producing or composing, he is always working to perfect his art.

After more than 45 years playing with some of the biggest names in the genre, Joe Louis Walker has a Rolodex fit to make any blues fan salivate.

Growing up in San Francisco, Walker established himself as a talented guitarist at age 16, earning him the position as house string slinger at The Matrix, a nightclub on Fillmore Street.

There and -- with the help of legendary rock promoter Bill Graham -- at the nearby Fillmore West, Walker shared the stage with everyone from T-Bone Walker and John Lee Hooker to Lightnin' Hopkins and Freddie King. He opened so often for Muddy Waters that the bluesman invited Walker to open for him on an extended tour of Canada when Walker was 19.

"I played for everyone who came to town," Walker said, during a recent phone interview. "It was really fertile ground."

By the time he earned his spot at The Matrix, Walker had already been playing guitar for half his life and had been competing in battle of the band competitions at The Fillmore with his cousins for several years.

In 1968, shortly before he embarked on his tour with Waters, Walker met and befriended the Paul Butterfield Blues Band's Mike Bloomfield, who is regarded by many as among the best guitarists in the world.

The two moved in together and Bloomfield introduced Walker to luminaries such as Carlos Santana and Steve Miller, whose influence helped shift him into a more rock-oriented playing style. Their friendship lasted until Bloomfield's death in 1981.

After a decade during which he exclusively played gospel music, Walker returned to the blues with a flourish in 1985, releasing three of his most well-received albums.

"I had a better idea of what I wanted to do, stylistically," he said. "I knew I wanted to do something different; not your grandpa's blues but Joe Walker's way of doing it."

Thanks to skills he gleaned through his friendships and partnerships, Walker, now 62, said he developed a free-ranging approach to the guitar that is all his own.

His style has been praised by critics as, at turns, innovative, passionate, searing and soulful. He has received four Blues Music Awards, including winning the 2010 Album of the Year for "Between a Rock and the Blues."

Lionel Young is a high energy performer with a bent for the blues. His LIONEL YOUNG BAND, winners of numerous awards for best in and around the Colorado region, have won the 2011 International Blues Challenge (IBC) band competition. Added to his victory at the 2008 IBC in the solo-duo catagory, that makes Lionel Young the first double champion in the history of the IBC.

Fans of the driven, classically trained Young, love his distinctive brand of blues on the electric violin. His show features not only Young originals but interpretations of blues classics by Willie Dixon, Leadbelly and Stevie Ray Vaughan, features the strength and passion of Young’s playing, as well as his smooth vocals and unique translations. The songs, which include his award-winning composition ” Brown Cloud Over Denver” and “Hey, O.J.,” a controversial little gem, alternately stir up social concerns and soothe the weary soul. It’s prime. It’s fun. It’s Lionel Young.

Born in Rochester, New York, Lionel Young began taking violin lessons at the age of six with Anastasia Jempelis at the Eastman School of Music. He was a member of the Pittsburgh Opera-Ballet Orchestra and the National Repertory Orchestra which commissioned him to play bluegrass and blues for their summer festival and on a tour of Japan, Taiwan, and Korea during the 1988 Summer Olympic Music Festival.

Throughout his career, Mr. Young has won numerous awards including: The Young Artist Award (Pittsburgh Symphony); The Concerto Contest (Carnegie-Mellon); The Passamenic Award (Branchwood String Quartet); and the award for the Best Blues Band in Westword’s Best of Denver. He’s also won a position with The Denver Chamber Orchestra and premiered a solo piece by William Hill.

Lionel has had the honor of working with such show biz luminaries as: Count Basie, Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Paige/Robert Plant, Doc Severenson, Linda Ronstadt, Living Color, Billy Taylor, Woodie Herman, Stanley Turrentine, Homesick James, Homer Brown, Hamlet Bluiett, Chief Bae, and Johnny Long.

Texas blues troubadour Hadden Sayers didn’t follow the usual script. His tribulations weren’t the result of personal demons. He didn’t call on a team of slick advisors and publicists to resuscitate his career. He didn’t look for reality shows, sex tapes, or reunion tours to make an easy buck. Hadden Sayers knew that sometimes an honest dollar is a hard dollar.

Ultimately, his path back from the bottom went through an Ohio country shack where a chance encounter with a retired stonemason rejuvenated Sayers’ soul, and ultimately, his music. In 2004, Sayers was a successful musician in Houston. He had a powerful agent and record label executives jostled for space at his gigs. His calendar was full of shows and his albums got attention. Sometimes the saying is true: shit just happens.

The record labels disappeared in a haze of bad business deals, excuses, and rip-offs. One company locked the doors and disappeared a day after the ceremonial handshake. Another outfit guaranteed success, as long as they could keep one hundred percent of the profits. Sayers plowed on. He released his own records independently and lugged a battered ’57 Strat all over the world as he performed 200 shows annually. Band members rotated in and out.

The musician moved to Central Ohio, an unlikely home to a bluesman. But Sayers’ wife, a scientist, had an opportunity to work with a world-renowned cancer researcher. Dedicated to supporting her career, Sayers planned to reconstruct his band with pros from the Northeast. Just as the new group began to build momentum, the agent decided to “go in a different direction” and quit. Gigs dried up. Sayers took a job in corporate music and performed as the Hadden Sayers Band using family members to round out the group.

Times got even leaner. Without the assistance of booking agencies, Sayers’ itinerary dwindled to less than 20 shows in 2006. Sometimes the next dollar is the hardest dollar. His cherished uncle Rick Frye, who served as the band’s drummer, collapsed after a performance in Williamsburg, Virginia and literally died in the arms of his band and family members. Then a beloved musician pal overdosed in a dingy Atlanta motel room. And then, Sayers’ wife watched her mentor succumb to the very disease he spent his life trying to cure. Sometimes you reach a point to where the dollars don’t matter; life itself is just too hard.

Stung, discouraged, and hurting, Sayers retreated to a dilapidated fishing shack in Southern Ohio. He turned his back on music, left his Strat at home, and focused on making the decrepit structure inhabitable.

An old man in battered work boots and a fishing hat arrived to rebuild a stone chimney. In the coming days, retired stonemason Conard McCorkle and bluesman Hadden Sayers, two men of completely different ages and backgrounds, forged an unlikely friendship. The goal of simply patching the shack evolved into a full fledged rebuild. Walls came down. New ones were built. The small chimney project grew into a two year rehab for both the shack and the soul.

McCorkle’s silent strength, patience, and friendship revived Sayers’ resolve. He began humming tunes and melodies on the drive to the shack. He hauled in recording gear and began working through songs in the country, sometimes recording lyrics as voice memos on a cell phone until he could reach the studio.

Just as the stone mason and the bluesman shared a beer and a handshake celebrating the completion of the new cottage, Grammy-nominated vocalist Ruthie Foster called in search of a guitarist. She had built her career in the Brazos Valley area of Central Texas, Sayers’ old stomping grounds. The two musicians shared a love for the Brazos Valley hybrid of blues, Tejano, country, soul, gospel, and reggae. Sayers immediately began writing songs with Foster in mind. Their duet “Back to the Blues” became the cornerstone of Sayers’ new album. In 2010, Sayers spearheaded the creation of a new record label along with Midwest investors and music industry veterans.

Their first release, HARD DOLLAR by Hadden Sayers was released on June 21st, 2011. Hadden Sayers has done things the right way, not the easy way. It’s ingrained in who he is as a person. And the life lessons from Conard McCorkle and the late Rick Frye reinforced it. Sometimes, the hard dollar is an honorable dollar. Sometimes the hard dollar is the dollar that matters most.


Riverbend's Happy Together Tour on the Coke stage should evoke a stronger sense of nostalgia for Diane Brennan Knapp of Auburn, Ala., than it does for most festivalgoers.

When she was growing up, said Knapp, 57, her father and uncles owned radio stations throughout the Southeast and frequently produced shows by artists of the era. She got to meet all of the acts headlining on the Coca-Cola Stage tonight.

The Happy Together Tour features five acts whose music topped the charts in the 1960s and '70s: Micky Dolenz of The Monkees, The Grass Roots, The Buckinghams, Flo & Eddie of The Turtles and Gary Puckett and The Union Gap.

This evening Riverbend offered a second headliner on the Bud Light stage, Gov't Mule. After 25 years of shredding with some of rock's biggest names, Warren Haynes more than earned the title of "man in motion" long before using it as the name of his second solo album in 2011.

Haynes' first break came in 1980 when he served as a sideman for country legend David Allan Coe, but his incendiary touch on the six-string didn't stand in the spotlight until 1989 when he joined the ranks of the recently re-formed Allman Brothers Band.

Since then, he has been nearly continuously involved in projects. In addition to session work, Haynes remains an active member of the Allman Brothers and also plays with The (Grateful) Dead and at the head of his own band, Gov't Mule, which he founded in 1994 with bassist Allen Woody.

"I feel like, if I had to do one thing all the time, it would lead to burnout that much quicker," he said during a recent phone interview. "The fact that I'm able to do a lot of different things, I think, is what keeps me inspired and keeps me fresh.

"I've been lucky in that A) I've had a career that has spanned many genres, and B) I'm blessed with an audience who likes a lot of different stuff and is willing to go on a journey and see where it goes."

Tonight, Haynes will take the reins of Gov't Mule on the Bud Light Stage as a Riverbend dual headliner alongside Coke Stage artist The Happy Together Tour.

Do you need a little "Blues" to fill out the evening? After more than 45 years playing with some of the biggest names in the genre, Joe Louis Walker has a Rolodex fit to make any blues fan salivate.

Growing up in San Francisco, Walker established himself as a talented guitarist at age 16, earning him the position as house string slinger at The Matrix, a nightclub on Fillmore Street.

There and -- with the help of legendary rock promoter Bill Graham -- at the nearby Fillmore West, Walker shared the stage with everyone from T-Bone Walker and John Lee Hooker to Lightnin' Hopkins and Freddie King. He opened so often for Muddy Waters that the bluesman invited Walker to open for him on an extended tour of Canada when Walker was 19.

"I played for everyone who came to town," Walker said, during a recent phone interview. "It was really fertile ground."

By the time he earned his spot at The Matrix, Walker had already been playing guitar for half his life and had been competing in battle of the band competitions at The Fillmore with his cousins for several years.

In 1968, shortly before he embarked on his tour with Waters, Walker met and befriended the Paul Butterfield Blues Band's Mike Bloomfield, who is regarded by many as among the best guitarists in the world.

The two moved in together and Bloomfield introduced Walker to luminaries such as Carlos Santana and Steve Miller, whose influence helped shift him into a more rock-oriented playing style. Their friendship lasted until Bloomfield's death in 1981.

After a decade during which he exclusively played gospel music, Walker returned to the blues with a flourish in 1985, releasing three of his most well-received albums.

"I had a better idea of what I wanted to do, stylistically," he said. "I knew I wanted to do something different; not your grandpa's blues but Joe Walker's way of doing it."

Thanks to skills he gleaned through his friendships and partnerships, Walker, now 62, said he developed a free-ranging approach to the guitar that is all his own.

His style has been praised by critics as, at turns, innovative, passionate, searing and soulful. He has received four Blues Music Awards, including winning the 2010 Album of the Year for "Between a Rock and the Blues."

Tonight, he will headline this year's Bessie Smith Strut.

As celebrated as he is for his blues work, Walker said he feels just as comfortable drawing on gospel and rock. That wide-ranging approach once led Willie Dixon to tell him his style was "all over the place."

He said he took that as a compliment.

"I can tackle all those different genres but still keep the essence of the blues," Walker said. "In the long run, I've sort of persevered to where people know my music and know that it's different from anyone else you could name in my genre.

"I sort of try to push myself and have fun while I'm doing it."

A few of the other extraordinary artists for the evening are Grammy award winners Rebirth Brass Band, Lionel Young Band, Hadden Sayers and Blues Hammer Band.


Foreigner headlines on as the Coca-Cola Stage at the Riverbend Music Festival.

Foreigner was founded in 1976 by Gramm and lead guitarist (and last remaining founding member) Mick Jones. The group first tasted success a year later with the release of a self-titled debut that yielded two Top 10s: "Feels Like the First Time" and "Cold as Ice."

For more than a decade, the band's pop-influenced rock yielded a continuous series of anthemic Top 10 hits, including "Hot Blooded" (1978), "Urgent" (1981), "I Want To Know What Love Is" (1984) and "I Don't Want To Live Without You" (1988).

In all, Foreigner has had 16 songs break into Billboard's Top 30 chart. According to the Recording Industry Association of America, the band has sold 37.5 million records, more than Adele, John Mayer and Bryan Adams combined.

Other performers on the other five stages include Machines are People too, Tampled Under Foot, Pop Evil, Bluegrass Pharaohs, Commander Cody, Sol Driven Train, Prime Cut Trio, Chatt All Stars, Joe the Show, Kaki King, The Two Man Gentlemen Band, Stratoblasters and Nick Moss Band.



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