Welcome to the Blues Society of Central PA (BSCP) website!
The BSCP is a non-profit corporation dedicated to the preservation, promotion, support and enjoyment of the truly original American art form, the blues.
Our goal is to be a complete local resource for all blues lovers, or anyone seeking to broaden their musical experience. During the course of the year, we host or sponsor many blues events and festivals, some free to the public, featuring local, regional and nationally known acts. And via our free weekly electric blues jams each Thursday night and acoustic jams the first Wednesday of the month, we’re promoting local talent. We invite all local bluesmen and women, no matter where they are on their blues playing journey, to get up on stage and perform and grow in front of appreciative audiences.
All of our events are open to the public, but being a BSCP member has its privileges and helps in the effort to host and sponsor great blues events. You can become a member for $10 a year, which gets you into both the annual Mississippi Railroad event in July and the annual all-you-can-eat Christmas party in December.
On this website you’ll learn about events and personalities that drive the blues genre in and around Central PA. We hope you enjoy it and join in on the fun.
BSCP PRESENTS CAROLYN KELLY
Blues lovers in the Harrisburg region are about to find out what blues lovers in upstate New York have known for more than 40 years.
Carolyn Kelly can sing the blues....REALLY sing the blues!
On Oct. 2, Kelly and her bandmates, who together comprise the Carolyn Kelly Blues Band, will perform tunes from her 2012 release “Somebody Told Me” and two other CDs, plus a variety of new tunes at Champions Sports Bar & Grill in Highspire.
The show, presented by the Blues Society of Central Pennsylvania, also features local favorite Don Johnson and the Don Johnson Trio.
Showtime is 2 p.m. Admission is $12. Blues Society of Pennsylvania members will be charged $10. Memberships to the Blues Society will be sold at the door for $10.
Born in South Carolina but raised in Philadelphia, Kelly arrived in Syracuse in 1968 after having already built a foundation for the blues by singing gospel solos. She joined up with another Syracuse favorite Roosevelt Dean, but along her journey she steered away from music and embarked on a different calling - - serving Alzheimer and dementia patients as a certified nursing assistant.
But back to music and Dean she came in 2006 and they produced two CDs together, the second one “Slow Cooking on Hot” earned for both of them a Sammy (Syracuse Area Music Award). Dean passed in 2009 and Kelly has pressed on with her own band and developing her own style.
“My music is real blues,” Kelly told Russ Tarby of Eagle News Online back in 2008. “I can feel my own experiences in life with the blues. And if my voice can reach someone, touch somebody and make them happy, then it’s all worth it.”
Joining Kelly are Don Sollars on drums, Todd Fitzsimmons and or Terry Mulhauser on guitar and Jim Pavente on bass. Together, the band produces a rich, foot-stomping, unmistakable blues groove that is a natural complement to Kelly’s soulful, often powerful, energetic delivery.
Examples of the band’s music can be found on You Tube, and on the Web at www.Carolynkellyblues.com.
BSCP Proudly Sponsors Ruthie Foster at ABC in Harrisburg
The Blues Society of Central Pennsylvania is proud to be a sponsor of The Susquehanna Folk Music Society’s presentation of multi Blues Music Awards winning artist Ruthie Foster, at 7:30 pm on Oct. 16 at the Appalachian Brewing Company in Harrisburg.
Outside of her 2010, 2012 and 2014 Grammy nominations, Foster has been recognized by organizations such as the Austin Music Awards (2007, 2008 and 2013 Best Female Vocalist), Blues Music Awards (2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013), Living Blues Awards (2010 Critics’ Poll Winner and 2011 nominee for Blues Female Artist of the Year).
She has collaborated on stage with artists ranging from Bonnie Raitt to The Allman Brothers to Susan Tedeschi.
Admission is $24, but BSCP members
will be admitted for $21. For more information,
COMING SOON.........2016 BSCP ANNUAL CHRISTMAS PARTY!
Anyone seeking a plateful of smooth, soulful blues to go with their sweet potatoes and meatballs during the holiday season should look no further than the Blues Society of Central Pennsylvania’s Christmas Party at the Hummelstown Fire Hall on Dec. 4.
One of the last remaining great soul/blues players Johnny Rawls will be there to serve, accompanied by regional favorite The Cornlickers.
Upbeat rhythms? Rawls, a multi soul/blues award winner over a 30year solo career, can bring that, too.
Doors open at 1:30 p.m. for the allyoucaneat, BYOB potluck dinner and show. Admission is free to BSCP members. Annual membership and renewals will be sold at the door for $10.
Always hungry, always traveling, always working, always excited to play the blues his way, Rawls, who turned 65 in September, can satisfy both those who want to juke and jive on the dance floor or who just want to toe tap and head bob from the comfort of their table.
“If you had to sum up Johnny and his music in one
word, it would be smooth," reported Blues on
Stage music guide. "Everything he does, from
singing, playing guitar, writing songs, and interacting
with his fans reflects the polish and considerable
talent he has developed over the years."
" Johnny Rawls continues with the casual brilliance he displayed on his previous (albums). As always, his soul/blues singing holds a singular combination of gentlemanly authority and painfully felt vulnerability on topgrade original tunes and choice covers," reported Frank John-Hadley in the May, 2016 edition of Downbeat.
As late as June, "Tiger In The Cage" was the No. 3 Soul Blues Album on the Roots Music Report. It had been No. 1 for 11 weeks. Previous releases include "Soul Brothers" (2014), and "Remembering OV" (2013), a tribute to OV Wright. The album featured the late Otis Clay as a special guest. "Remembering OV" was nominated for 2014 Soul Album of the Year and Rawls for Male Soul Artist of the Year, his 11th and 12th Blues Music Awards nominations.
Rawls was born and raised in Mississippi and was inspired as a young boy to play guitar by his grandfather. He began to play professionally as a teenager in the 1960s and in the mid 1970s he was Wright’s band director. After Wright’s death in 1980, Rawls led Little Johnny Taylor’s band until embarking on a solo career in 1985.
A prolific songwriter with more than 100 songs recorded, Rawls has traveled the world playing soulful blues, and will have booked more than 100 dates before the year is out, including two stints in Europe. The BSCP Christmas Party will be Rawls’ 20th gig since Oct. 1, a stretch that included a 7day blues cruise.
" I sing soul," Rawls told the Palm Beach New Times. "I stand out because I do original songs that have a good beat to them. It’s a different side to the blues. I take a lot of time and effort to write songs so they don’t sound like they were just thrown together. In order to stand out, you have to write great songs. "
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
The BSCP is proud to announce our newest feature in our quarterly newsletter, "In the Sportlight". This article will feature many talented musicians who regularly perform at the Thursday night blues jam, hosted by the BSCP at Champions Sports Bar & Grill in Highspire, PA. Please click HERE to read the newest article (pages 6 thru 8), featuring our own Gary Harrington.
OUR JAM VENUE
Champions Sports Bar & Grill (www.championsportsbar.net)
at 300 2nd Street, Highspire, Pa. is our home venue for the
free weekly electric blues jams each Thursday night, beginning
at 8 pm. Champions
offers a full food and beverage menu and entertainment at least
several nights a week.
The River City Blues Club and Dart Room at 819 South Cameron Street, Harrisburg, Pa. is a split level venue featuring full bar and food offerings, entertainment Wednesday through Saturday in the downstairs lounge and darts and pinball on the main floor. River City is the home venue for several BSCP sponsored events. For further information, please go to their website at www.rivercityhbg.com.