Each year lovers of blues music gather in the city of Dallas in the deep south in order to pay tribute to their love of all things blues related. The year 2014 marks the 10th year in a row of this tribute to blues music. Involving blues and jazz musical talent from around the United States, the Annual Blues Festival in Dallas offers the opportunity to witness a spectacular show of live blues music.
Located at the Dallas Convention Center, the 2014 event features names such as Willie Clayton, The Manhattans, Mel Waiters, Denise LaSalle, and TK Soul. This event, typically held in the month of March, has included in the past such acts as Bobby Womack, Floyd Taylor, Shirley Brown, Bobby Rush, and Theodis Ealy.
Here are some of the bios of the most recently featured artists:
A popular R&B group, The Manhattans were formed in 1962 by members George “Smitty” Smith, Edward “Sonny” Bivins, Winfred “Blue” Lovett, Kenny “Wally” Kelly, and Richard “Ricky” Taylor. Even while the boys were still in high school, the group began but was quickly interrupted by service in the armed forces. They reunited after their respective terms and began releasing recordings throughout the late 1960s until their most recent album in 2013. Throughout a variety of changes in members, The Manhattans have continues to develop as a group and has been featured in two PBS specials as well as some high albums on the charts.
One of the finest blues guitarists and bandleaders of his time, Theodis Ealy hails from Mississippi where he learned to play guitar at age four, taught by his older brother Y.Z. Ealy. Early in his career, Theodis performed in bands with two brothers until he moved on to play in other groups. He was signed to record in the 1990s, touring Europe and the United States extensively. Stand Up in It from 2004 was his most popular album peaking at No. 5 on the Top Blues Albums Chart.
Mel Waiters began his performance career in 1974 in his hometown of San Antonio, Texas by singing at nearby teen clubs. He began to entertain at military bases in the southwest in the 1990s, and continues to perform at festivals and clubs all over the United States. He has recorded several albums in his career including Woman in Need and Poor Side of Town.
A singer, songwriter, and record producer, Denise Lasalle comes from a small town in Mississippi. Beginning by singing in church choirs, she moved on to Chicago and began with a small recording in 1967. Her first national hit was the song “Trapped By A Thing Called Love” in 1971 and she has continued recording critically acclaimed albums for over 20 years. Recently she was nominated for the Blues Music Award for the ‘Soul Blues Female Artist’ category, and she currently runs a restaurant called Blues Legend Cafe.
Bobby Womack recently passed away, but deserves a mention as one of the top blues artists featured at the Dallas Blues Festival on more than one occasion. The third of five brothers, Womack’s first musical influence was his mother’s gospel music organ playing at church and his father played the guitar. With many hits in his solo career during the 1970s and 1980s, Womack was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009 prior to his death in June 2014.
Getting to witness some of the very best Blues Music perform live is an incredible privilege and this can be done right in the heart of Dallas. The Annual Blues Festival in Dallas at the Dallas Convention Center each Spring is one of the most convenient ways for those living in the south to get to be part of such a show. From seasoned veterans to newer acts, the performances found at this blues festival are sure to be some of the very highest ranking in the genre.