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Pop / Rock 04/08/2005

John Lee Hooker, Jr. To Headline 2005 KC Music Blues And Jazz Festival

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KANSAS, CITY, (Kansas Music Blues Festival PR) - Kansas City Music Blues and Jazz Festival organizers have announced that John Lee Hooker, Jr. will headline this much anticipated show, Sept. 3-4 at the Woodlands Horse Track in Kansas City, KS.

Hooker, Jr., a favorite among blues and jazz enthusiasts, will kick-off the Labor Day weekend with a performance on Saturday, Sept. 3. The show starts at noon with eleven acts leading up to the second-generation blues legend. Festival doors open at 11 a.m. and more than 24 musical artists are scheduled to appear during the two-day event. This is the first time the Woodlands has provided their facility for such an entertainment venue.

"John Lee Hooker, Jr. is tearing up the big festival circuit this summer," says Mark Valentine, Kansas City Music Blues and Jazz Festival founder. "He's hot. He's been touring Europe, California, Colorado and now Kansas City -- big names like his make for a big show."

Hooker, Jr., who was born in Detroit's Motor City, continues to get rave reviews for his release, Blues with a Vengeance (Kent Records). The album is what he calls his "celebratory redemption" after struggling through years of extreme hardship and nearly losing himself to the streets. Hooker overcame the adversity to begin a rapid emergence into the blues spotlight. Blues with a Vengeance recently won the 2004 distinguished W.C. Handy Award as Best New Artist Debut and Hooker, Jr. secured a 2004 Grammy nomination in the Traditional Blues Album category. The California Music Awards (formerly the BAMMYS) also named Blues with a Vengeance 2004's Outstanding Blues Album of the Year, and the Bay Area Blues Society presented John Lee Hooker Jr. with the 2004 Comeback Artist of the Year award.

With the release of Blues with a Vengeance, Hooker Jr. finally made peace with his destiny, which was sealed by 'The Fates' when he was only eight years old and performed on Detroit's WJBK radio. Despite the fact that his father was legendary blues pioneer, John Lee Hooker, he knew at that moment, he wanted to be a world-class musician. Touring with his father while in his teens, by the time he was 16 he had already performed in prestigious venues such as Detroit's Fox Theatre with acclaimed musicians such as Jimmy Reed. In 1972, an eighteen year-old John Jr. was singing vocals alongside his father for the recording of Hooker, Sr.'s album Live at Soledad Prison (ABC Records).

Unfortunately, while living the "life of a blues man" he succumbed to the demons that surround it, derailing his musical career for the next 25 years. Drugs, alcohol, divorce, incarceration, and death may have brought his once promising career to a screeching halt. But it was living the blues and his faith that returned Hooker Jr. to the limelight. With the support of his family and friends, and a crew of talented musicians who never ceased to believe in him, Hooker Jr. finally found his own inner muse making music that expresses the depth of emotion he has experienced in his personal life.

A style he calls "two parts R&B, one part jazz" and "down home blues," Hooker Jr. is carrying on a century-old family musical heritage? learned from his father John, Sr.?who in turn learned from his stepfather, Will Moore, a blues singer/guitarist who most influenced his guitar style.

Hooker, Jr., is just one of dozens of acts lined up for the festival. The show will also feature such popular national and local artists as Joanna Connor, Billy Paul, Chubby Carrier, Sons of Brasil, Big Woody Blues Review, Haji Ahkba, Millage Gilbert, KARMA, Old School Knights, Camp Harlow, Cotton Candy and Boulevard Big Band - and more to come.

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