Blues at the Crossroads 2: Muddy & The Wolf

Jan 14, 2013

Omaha Performing Arts Presents BLUES AT THE CROSSROADS 2: Muddy & The Wolf on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. at the Holland Performing Arts Center. This performance is part of the Omaha Performing Arts 2012/2013 Season.
Tickets for Blues at the Crossroads 2: Muddy & The Wolf start at $25 and can be purchased online at, by phone at 402.345.0606, or at the Ticket Omaha office in the Holland Performing Arts Center, 13th and Douglas streets.
After a successful tour with the Robert Johnson Centennial Concerts, BLUES AT THE CROSSROADS returns to celebrate legends Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. During their lifetime Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf vied for the title of "father of modern Chicago Blues.” Though friends, they were rivals for the top slot, and this rivalry fueled the creation of several blues classics, including "Spoonful," "Mannish Boy," "Rolling Stone," and "Smokestack Lightning." Both are considered the inspirations for Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, John Mayall, Eric Clapton and others who brought about the 1960’s British blues explosion.
Honoring the music of Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters, BLUES AT THE CROSSROADS 2 spotlights such luminaries as Blues Hall of Fame honoree James Cotton, legendary bluesman Jody Williams, old-school guitarist Bob Margolin and rhythm and blues rocker JJ Grey — all backed by the solid groove of The Fabulous Thunderbirds who are led by one-of-a-kind vocalist/harmonica player, Kim Wilson. The Fabulous Thunderbirds’ distinctive and powerful sound mixes Texas blues with harmonica-laced swamp blues and R&B.
Because of their peerless musicianship and unique vocals, they have a huge worldwide fan base and have always been favorites of top musicians. They have toured the world with The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and others. The Thunderbirds' songs "Tuff Enuff" and "Wrap It Up" were Top 10 hits and many of their songs have been used in movies and commercials. The Fabulous Thunderbirds will serve as the core band backing blues greats James Cotton, JJ Grey, Bob Margolin, and Jody Williams.
James “Mr. Superharp” Cotton is a blues giant in every respect. He is the only musician alive today who has played with Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and Sonny Boy Williamson (who raised the orphaned Cotton in Mississippi). A Grammy®-Award winner, Cotton has been honored by the Blues Hall of Fame, the Smithsonian Institute, and countless W.C. Handy Blues Awards. As a teenager Cotton befriended Howlin’ Wolf and joined forces with him playing deep-south juke joints for several years. In 1954 when Muddy Waters needed a harmonica player, he recruited Cotton, who remained a member of Waters’ band for several years. At age 77, Cotton is still one of the most sought-after, hard-driving, seminal blues musicians touring the world today. The blues harmonica master is celebrating his 68th year as a professional musician (starting at the age of 9).
Jody Williams, considered by critics to be “the first great string bender on the Chicago blues scene,” provided the stylistic bridge between B.B. King and T-Bone Walker and younger musicians such as Otis Rush and Buddy Guy. As a Chicago session guitarist during the 50’s his singular tone, imaginative chord changes and boundless creativity set him apart from his peers while he added guitar fire to the era’s greatest blues recordings from Bo Diddley to Billy Bob Arnold to Howlin’ Wolf.
Blues guitar player and vocalist Bob Margolin literally expanded his musical education at the right hand of Waters, who strategically positioned Margolin on stage where the young guitarist could watch him play. In 2008, Margolin won the Blues Music Award for Guitar and the W.C. Handy Award. He also played guitar in Muddy Waters’ Band from 1973 to 1980 and can be seen with Muddy Waters and The Band in The Last Waltz, the classic music documentary. One of his most recent albums is The Bob Margolin All-Star Blues Jam for Telarc Records, which features many of today’s surviving Chicago Blues legends. Margolin writes a regular column for Blues Review magazine and contributes to online magazine.
JJ Grey’s blues music tells stories that he’s carried from the backwoods of Florida to concerts in states across the US and around the world. His music is filled with a mix of swamp rock, raw funk, blistering blues and deep soul. The New York Times praised JJ’s “balance of wildness and cool,” describing his music as “Southern swamp rock with undercurrents of Memphis soul.” Grey has shared stages with the likes of B.B. King, the Allman Brothers Band, the Black Crowes, Jeff Beck, Lenny Kravitz and many others. His songs have appeared in film and network and cable television programs including House, Flashpoint, Crash, Friday Night Lights and many more. He wrote his first film score for the critically acclaimed, Emmy Award-winning documentary The Good Soldier.
Join these blues music legends as they pay homage to Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf in a night of unforgettable music with BLUES AT THE CROSSROADS 2: Muddy & The Wolf, Holland Performing Arts Center, Wednesday, February 6, 2013, 7:30 p.m.