SOLD OUT 2nd Annual Narrows Winter Blues Festival 1/17/15

5 bands over 7 hours of music 5:00-5:45 Young Neal and the Vipers Today, ‘Young’ Neal Vitullo and his band the Vipers have matured into seasoned musical performers. Vitullo, who has probably played in every bar-room between Boston and New York over the past years, has long been regarded as one of the New England’s best blues guitarists. The path traveled has not been without the usual road bumps of personnel changes and hard times, but through it all, Vitullo has grown stronger and continues to mature musically. If there ever was a local six-string hero that no guitar player would want to follow on stage, Neal Vitullo is that guitar player. A full-time musician for over 19 years, Neal was influenced early on from Led Zeppelin and Eric Clapton, white blues musicians from England that often paid tribute to the blues greats before them. Upon researching the ‘influences of the influences’, Vitullo dug into the recordings of McKinley Morganfield (better known as Muddy Waters), Willie Dixon, and Albert King, becoming a total student of the blues. He’s also had the opportunities to perform on stage with his mentors, a perk of the trade that he deeply appreciates. ‘I’ve played with a lot of people that were my influences,’ Vitullo explains. ‘I got to play with Roy Buchanan. I was Willie Dixon’s guitar player for a night..Johnny Copeland’s guitar player for a night. I was very fortunate to be able to do all those things at that time when it was really happening.’ His searing guitar licks, blazing technique, and gymnastic stage show are legendary amongst music fans in these parts. 6:00- 6:45 Mark Small Mark T. Small has been playing music for over 40 years. In his early teens he began listening to Old Time Music. He learned to play fiddle tunes on the guitar in the styles of Doc Watson and Norman Blake and also learned to play the Dobro. In 2000, Mark began to gravitate back to his acoustic roots and the studio became his classroom. After making a decision to pursue a solo career, Mark took all of the lessons that he had learned over the last 25 years and began constructing his solo show. The premise was to develop an act that was as hard hitting as the band, but all in a one man show. The show includes many great traditional Delta Blues numbers with a Chicago Blues slant that transforms each tune into a ‘tour de force’. Included are: the blazing flat-picking techniques that grabbed audiences in Mark’s Bluegrass days, the hot slide guitar playing that creates a mood and timbre change in each set and the showmanship that was developed from 25 years of experience as a band ‘Front Man’. 7:10- 8:25 Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish are one the region’s premier blues bands. They take a soulful approach to the blues with an expansive catalog the runs the gamut from Sinatra to Tom Waits to straight up blues. Finding common ground with a broad range of different American lifestyles and music styles, black soul or white trash, Hoy’s output refuses to be limited to a strict genre category. 8:50- 10:05 Mike Zito and The Wheel he natural habitat of the true musician is not the gleaming studio, a glitzy showbiz party or a five-star hotel. It’s the road. And if multiple Blues Music Award winner Mike Zito had a dollar for every mile of tarmac he’s burnt since his breakout in the early-’90s, they’d be piled up to his chin. ‘There’s just something in me,’ considers the solo bandleader and Royal Southern Brotherhood co-founder (with Devon Allman and Cyril Neville), ‘It’s there in all musicians. You gotta love the road to be a part of this world. You’re right there, looking in people’s eyes, swapping stories, shaking hands” There’s an undeniable romance about a life in motion ‘ and an enduring magic about the moment when the house lights go down, the roar of the crowd goes up and the shadows take the stage. For Mike, who began touring the Midwest circuit at the age of eighteen, and has since crossed twenty-plus countries as guitarist with the Brotherhood, this is when things get serious. ‘In my band, The Wheel, if you’re not already with us, you’d better get on board,’ he grins. ‘Because otherwise we’re gonna knock you down!’ Released in August 2014 in the US as the latest installment in Ruf Records’ Award winning live series, Zito’s Songs From The Road is a two-disc set that captures Mike at full throttle on his adopted home-turf. ‘This DVD and live album were recorded on January 10th, 2014, at Dosey Doe at The Woodlands, TX, to a sold-out crowd of crazy Texans,’ he recalls. ‘The audience was on fire from the first note. The band played with such energy and passion. I was overwhelmed many times throughout this performance by the sheer energy of love that poured out of every soul in that building. It was a truly magical night, one I’ll never forget.’ 10:30-12:00 Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds is a seven-piece powerhouse that puts a modern spin on classic soul. The band is led by Arleigh Kincheloe (Sister Sparrow), whose astoundingly powerful voice and sly demeanor make for a spellbinding presence onstage. She is backed by the mighty force of The Dirty Birds, a flock of seven men who masterfully lay down thundering grooves and soaring melodies. While each of the Birds are capable of lighting up the stage with jaw-dropping displays of musicianship, it’s clear they’re all focused on delivering the band’s infectious music as a single entity. Simply put, the band’s live show is explosive.