We haven't been updating this page for a couple years. All the events listed here are from 2015 or before.

Instead check out our Online Calendar which we continue to update a couple times a week. Thanks for understanding!

Past events

[Bentley's Blues Jam Poster]

Bentley's Blues Jam
7:00 pm Wednesday September 23, 2015
Bentley's Pub, 419 N. Neil St., Champaign

Come out to the next Bentley's Blues Jam, scheduled for Wednesday, September 23. Bentley's Pub is located at, 419 N. Neil street in downtown Champaign. The September Jam will be hosted by Groove Avenue so we're looking forward to another great time. Bring your instrument and plan on sitting in!

Prairie Crossroads Blues Society is happy to help revive the tradition of a blues jam in the C-U area. The jams take place the 4th Wednesday of every month. Jams so so far have been hosted by Andrew Duncanson & Susan Williams, Kathy Harden & Tony Juodis, Josh & Jake Stimmel with Abraham Johnson and Candy Foster & Friends. There's been plenty of other jammers sitting in and thrilling the capacity crowds. Make plans to be there in September!

[IBC  Logo]

PCBS IBC Blues Challenge
Saturday October 17, 2015
Memphis On Main, 55 E Main St, Champaign

Save the Date! - Saturday Oct., 17. Prairie Crossroads Blues Society is thrilled to be holding our local Blues Challenge to select acts to go to Memphis and represent us in the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge. Judges will be selecting a Solo/Duo act and a Band (3 or more musicians) to compete in the IBC's. In January 2016, hundreds of acts from around the world will gather on historic Beale Street for the chance to be selected as the year's best up-and-coming Blues act. We'll also be choosing a Best Self-Produced CD to represent our Society at the Blues Foundation's IBC.

Cash prizes are awarded to the winning acts to assist with their travel expenses to Memphis.

We will use the same scoring system and basic rules as the Blues Foundation. Check out their website for more info.
Who can enter?
Official Rules and Scoring

Musicians are urged to keep this date open in your schedules. We will assemble our panel of judges from music industry professionals and officers of other local Blues Societies. This is one of the most exciting events we hold each year as fans pack the venue to root for their favorite musicians. Plan on attending!

Ori Naftaly & Tierinii Jackson

Ori Naftaly
9:00 pm Saturday May 23, 2015
Memphis on Main, 55 E. Main Street, Champaign

PCBS was pleased to bring the fiery blues guitarist, Ori Naftaly, and his band to Memphis on Main on Saturday May 23. Ori returned to the Champaign-Urbana area with his new band and a renewed focus on blues with gospel, soul and funk influences mixed in. New lead singer Tierinii Jackson is a native of Memphis where Ori discoverd her singing in a Baptist church. Tierinii is a veteran road performer having toured Europe with gospel groups.

The Ori Naftaly Band won the Israeli Blues Challenge Competition and advanced to the Semi-Finals of the 2013 International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis.

The Ori Naftaly Band has won awards for it's first two albums and is currently recording a new CD with plans to release it in July or August.


Johnny Rawls Heart & Soul Promo

Johnny Rawls
9:00 pm Friday April 24, 2015
The Iron Post, 120 S. Race Street, Urbana

Legendary soul blues artist, Johnny Rawls, put on an outstanding show for area blues fans on Friday April 24th. At the intimate setting of The Iron Post Johnny performed a mix of Johnny Rawls originals and classic blues tunes and thilled the crowd with his smooth lyrics and guitar playing.

Johnny's outstanding band was made up of some amazing performers. James Cosey played some incredible guitar licks throughout the show. The rhythm section consisted of Johnny's longtime bass player, Greg Allen, and ace local drummer Aaron "A-Train" Wilson. Johnny and the band played two sets of dynamite music, and left the crowd wanting more.

Let's hope PCBS can bring Johnny back to town soon.

Jackie Scott

Kilborn Alley Blues Band with special guest vocalist Jackie Scott put on an incredible show for fans at The Iron Post

What an amazing show! Jackie Scott is a fantastic singer with a sassy style. On Saturday February 14th, Jackie came to town and brought along her mentor, a legend and a member or the Blues Hall of Fame, Eddie Shaw. The fans in attendance were thrilled with Jackie's singing and delighted when Eddie Shaw also joined Kilborn Alley on stage to play some sax and add some vocals to the mix. Fans had a chance to have their picture taken with both Jackie and Eddie. PCBS provided some funding to help bring Kilborn's guests to town. We love supporting the Blues!

Jackie is from the Virgina area and has advanced to the Finals of the IBC's, been nominated for several Blues Blast Music Awards and been a featured performer at the Mississippi Valley Blues Fest and Chicago Blues Fest. She was mentored by Eddie Shaw, saxophone player and leader of Howlin' Wolf's band who was recently inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

Jackie and the band played at BB's Jazz Blues & Soups in St. Louis, on Friday Feb. 13. Local fans didn't have far to travel though since they caught Jackie, Eddie and Kilborn at the intimate setting of The Iron Post on Saturday evening. What a treat, thanks to Kilborn for bringing these amazing performers to town.

Monica Morris & Josie Lowder

Fundraiser for Monica Morris & Josie Lowder
5:00 - 8:00 pm Saturday January 10th, 2015
Bentley's Pub, 419 N. Neil St. Champaign

Thanks to everyone who joined us to support Monica Morris & Josie Lowder before they headed to Memphis to represent Priaire Crossroads Blues Society in the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge. We're proud of them and were thrilled to have them represent PCBS. Thanks to everyone who donated money or bought raffle tickets, we raised a nice amount of money to assist Monica & Josie with their travel expenses.

Susan Williams started off the entertainent with help from a special guest guitarist, Bob Watson. Joe Asselin played a short set which lead into an outstanding set by Jiggy & The Source. The Diva & The Dude got the crowd fired up with their set of tunes. Monica & Josie topped off the outstanding day of music with the set they will be performing at the IBC competition in Memphis.

Thanks again to all who came out to our Fundraiser for showing your support for our IBC representatives and wishing Monica & Josie good luck at the IBC's in Memphis.

PCBS Holiday Party/Monthly Meeting
6:00 PM Thursday December 18
The Clark Bar, 207 W. Clark St., Champaign

We had so much fun with our Holiday Party last year, we did it again! Thanks for joining us for a fun evening on Thursday December 18, at the Clark Bar, 207 W. Clark Street in Champaign. Keith & Kathy Harden provided some outstanding entertainment with a mix of blues, pop classics and some Christmas standards. Monica Morris, one half of our IBC Solo/Duo representatives showed up and amazed the crowd with her powerful vocals. Folks had a chance to enjoy some great Clark Bar food and a beverage or two. We had a raffle and gave away several CD's to help spread the Holiday cheer.

IBC Logo

IBC Solo/Duo Challenge
Saturday November 1, 2014
Bentley's Pub
419 N. Neil St. Champaign

Congratulations to Monica Morris & Josie Lowder, winners of our IBC Solo/Duo Challenge. Good luck to you in Memphis!

Best Self-Produced CD competition

Congratulations to Back Pack Jones, their Betsy's Kitchen CD won our BSPCD contest and copies of the disk have been sent to the Blues Foundation in Memphis to compete in their International Competition.

Tweed Funk promo with logo

Tweed Funk
Saturday September 13, 2014
Memphis On Main, 55 E. Main St. Champaign

With help from our friends at WEFT 90.1 FM, we brought this horn-based, soul blues band to Champaign for the first time. Tweed Funk has won two Wisconsin Area Music Industry Awards and is currently nominated for the 2014 Blues Blast Awards in the Soul Blues Album category for their latest CD, First Name Lucky.

Tweed Funk accomplishements
  • Competed in the 2012 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN
  • Sophomore CD, Love Is, 5 months at #1 on Roots Music Report State of Wisonsin Chart
  • Debut CD, Bringin' It, 18 weeks on Roots Music Report Blues Chart

They put on a fantastic show, many of the patrons were up dancing and loved the funky soul-blues music of Tweed Funk.

Blues Brews & BBQ Fest Logo

Champaign Blues Brews & BBQ's

Congratulations to Dan Jackson - winner of the PCBS Blues Basket

Thanks to all the blues fans that stopped by our tent at the Blues, Brews & BBQ Fest, it was a blast!

Thanks again to the volunteers who hung out at our tent for a couple hours and explained to the fans our mission to Preserve, Promote and Educate about the Blues.

PCBS once again be took part in the largest blues festival in downstate Illinois. We had our tent there and spread the word about the great blues entertainment and educational events Prairie Crossroads Blues Society brings to the area. We handed out information about our soociety to all the fellow blues lovers, signed up some new members and renewed several current members, sold some of our merchandise and had a chance to enjoy the great music and food.

Jarekus Poster

Jarekus Singleton
Alligator Records artist
Sunday, May 18, 6:00 pm
Memphis on Main, 55 E. Main St., Champaign

Wow what an amazing performance Thanks to Jarekus and the band!
Thanks to all the fans who came out, all the PCBS volunteers and to the entire staff at Memphis on Main. A simply incredible show!

Prairie Crossroads Blues Society is thrilled to present Alligator Recording artist Jarekus Singleton. Jarekus is from Jackson, MS. and his first CD on Alligator Records "Refuse To Lose" was released May 6. PCBS is excited to bring Jarekus for his first appearance in downstate Illinois.

Jarekus impressed the fans at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN in both 2013 and 2014. Immediately after the 2014 Challenge, Alligator Records announced they'd signed Jarekus to a recording contract.

Alligator Records press release on signing Jarekus

Mary Clark Benefit Poster

Blues Jam Benefit for Blues Mama Mary Clark

Hosted by fellow musicians
Sunday, May 4, 2:00 pm
Boomerangs,1309 E Washington St., Urbana

Note: Dawna Nelson announced in the days following the event it had raised over $1900 for Mary's family. Thanks to all the fans who showed up and donated. Thanks to all the musicians and to Tom and Christy Grassman of Boomerangs Bar & Grill. It was a special day!

Note: While this wasn't a PCBS event, it was a worthwhile cause and we were happy to help Dawna promote the show and lend our support to the fans, organizers, bands and specifically to Mary's family.

Friends and family of Mary Clark came together to celebrate her life and music.

Musicians slated to be onstage included Candy Foster, The Impalas, Kilborn Alley, Paul Sabuco & Friends, Dorothy Martirano, Kristen Johns and Megan Johns and Joni Dreyer & Groove Avenue. The all-star jam starts at 7 pm and includes Kevin Colravy, Bob Watson, Popeye Curtsinger, Crazy Johnny, Brendan Gamble, Dave Cooper, Catfish Evans, Kathy Harden and more.

Kilborn Facebook promo spring 2014

Kilborn Alley - 14th Birthday Party
with special guest - Jackie Scott
Saturday, April 26
The Iron Post, 120 S. Race St., Urbana

The Kilborn Alley Blues Band celebrated their 14th Birthday and threw a Party at The Iron Post.

Jackie Scott the dynamic singer from Hampton Roads, Virginia came to town to join the party with Kilborn Alley.

Happy Birthday guys

The Ori Naftaly Band
Saturday, March 22, 9 pm
Memphis on Main, 55 E. Main St., Champaign

Ori Naftaly & Eleanor Tsaig

Wow! What an awesome band! Thanks to the Ori Naftaly Band, the Friends of the Blues who referred the band to PCBS, Memphis on Main, Eric for his excellent job with the sound and all you fans who turned out to make this such an enthusiastic and fun night of blues!


The Ori Naftaly Band brought their high-energy, soulful blues act to Champaign in March. In 2013 after winning Best Israeli Blues Act they came to Memphis and were semi-finalists at the International Blues Challenge. Since then they've toured extensively throughout the United States and Europe. They have released two live studio albums and are currently working on their third new album.

Check them out online: orinaftaly.com, become their friend on Facebook, and plan on being at Memphis on Main to hear them in person.

Back Pack Jones
and Benny Jenkins bloodline

Saturday January 11, 2014
IBC Fundraiser and Send-Off
Memphis on Main!

Thanks for the enthusiasm and support
the Fundraiser was a blast

We're planning a fundraising party for the band we're sending to Memphis and would love you to join us!

If you were at our IBC Challenge in October, you know this is a dynamic band. Back Pack Jones delivers awesome traditional blues as well as original blues in a high-powered package guaranteed to please an audience. Back Pack Jones finished as a semi-finalist in the prestigious 2013 International Blues Challenge in Memphis and is an active supporter and participant in The International Blues Foundation's program "Blues in the Schools." Back Pack Jones just released their first CD of original blues, titled "Betsy's Kitchen. Back Pack Jones is complimented by a full horn section which brings even more energy to BPJ's stage act. Back Pack Jones has thrilled audiences at the famous B.B. King's Blues Club in Memphis, has opened for international blues sensation Jimmy Thackery and for the legendary B.B. King in November 2013.

You can become part of the Back Pack Jones blues experience by visiting backpackjones.com or LIKE Back Pack Jones on Facebook at facebook.com/BackPackJones.

Benny Jenkins bloodline will join Back Pack Jones at Memphis on Main on Saturday January 11. Benny Jenkins bloodline's CD "Can't Take The Blues" won our Best Self-Produced CD competition and we've sent their CD on to the Blues Foundation as an entrant in the international BSPCD competition. Now you have a chance to see both of these great bands in one spectacular show.

Holiday Party/December Monthly Meeting

6:00pm Wednesday Dec. 18
The Clark Bar
207 W. Clark St., Champaign
Keith & Kathy Harden play at 6:30pm

It's our annual Holiday Party/Meeting. Instead of conducting a full business meeting, we'll have a short half-hour meeting and then enjoy PCBS Honorary Member, Keith Harden, who plays The Clark Bar at 6:30. It's time to have fun and celebrate what a great year it's been for PCBS and the Blues.

Have a bite to eat and a beverage or two. Remember we hold a drawing for a free CD from among the members that attend our monthly meetings. We'll have some additional giveaways at our PCBS Holiday Party as well.

Keith Harden just released his newest CD "sky songs"

If you talk to Keith, ask him to tell you the story about where he got the name for this CD, it's interesting.

Come out to the PCBS Christmas Party, enjoy some food, a beverage and some great music from Keith & Kathy Harden. Say hello to fellow PCBS mmembers and blues fans.

Blues at Bentley's
Susan Williams Band

7:00pm Tuesday Nov. 19
Bentley's Pub
419 North Neil St.

Susan Williams and her Band are some of the busiest and hardest working blues musicians in the area. They continue the fine series of of great Blues at Bentley's shows that was started recently.

This was a great show, with Gary Jones on guitar. Special guests Abraham Johnson, featured singer with Kilborn Alley, and Greg Lamb of King's Highway sang a few tunes with Susan and the band. The most touching part of the evening was when Susan announced Gary's house was destroyed in Sunday's storms. Bentley's manager, Angie, immediately took up a collection from among the patrons. You could tell it really touched Gary when she presented him with the cash.

C-U Folk & Root Festival - Nov. 1 & 2


Wow, what a great festival!

Prairie Crossroads Blues Society co-sponsored Del Rey's Friday night performance at the IMC and sponsored the Saturday Blues Jam in Lincoln Square, this year hosted by Keith Harden.

There were some outstanding performances. Here's some of the highlights!

  • Ivas John Band, 7:00pm-8:15pm, The Rose Bowl
  • Del Rey, 9:15pm-10:30pm, The IMC
    Saturday afternoon
  • Fingerpicking in Open D Workshop with David Berchtold, 12:45pm-1:45pm, C4AII
  • Guitar Fingerpicking & Songwriting Workshop with Keith Harden, 1:45pm-2:45pm, C4AIII
  • Memphis Minnie Workshop with Del Rey, 1:00pm-2:00pm, Urbana Free Library
  • Harmonica Workshp with Doug and Dave, 1:15pm-2:15pm, Common Ground
  • Blues Jam with Keith Harden, 3:00pm-5:00pm, Lincoln Square Mall
    Saturday night
  • David Berchtold, 6:15pm-7:30pm, The Iron Post
  • Del Rey, 9:30-10:45, The Iron Post
  • Keith Harden, 10:30-11:45, The Rose Bowl

Thanks to all the fans, performers and organizers. We're already looking forward to next year.

Bill "Howl-N-Madd" Perry with Cash McCall and Shy Perry

Tuesday, October 22
419 N. Neil St., Champaign

Bill is a legendary blues musician who has worked with Little Milton, Lil Johnny Taylor and others. He is noted on Blues Trail Markers and his recent CD, "“The Clarksdale Sessions" was chosen as one of the top 5 self-produced CDs last year.

His daughter, Shy Perry, who is a singer and songwriter and has recently released her first CD, joins him.

Cash McCall is a guitarist, Chess Record producer and songwriter who has worked with artists such as Willie Dixon, Jimmy Dawkins, Big Twist and Chicago Rhythm & Blues Review!

RJ Mischo with Kilborn Alley Blues Band

Wednesday, October 16
419 N. Neil St., Champaign

RJ Mischo is an award winning world reknown blues singer, harmonica player and band leader. RJ's music is mix of originals and obscure gems that create an exciting mix of grooving boogies, bump and grind shuffles and electric Chicago Blues.

Kilborn Alley does gritty Chicago blues and southern fried soul for all the generations of blues lovers. This music speaks for itself; better still, it convinces you to listen!

[Blues Foundation's IBC Logo]

PCBS 3rd Annual IBC Challenge

Saturday, October 5
Memphis on Main
55 E. Main St., Champaign

Band Bios

Prairie Crossroads Blues Society is proud to announce our 3rd Annual local IBC Challenge. We'll host the competition at Memphis on Main, 55 E. Main St. Champaign, on Saturday October 5. As an affiliate of the Blues Foundation based in Memphis, TN we have the honor of selecting one band to represent us at the International Blues Challenge which takes place on historic Beale Street, Wednesday January 22 thru Saturday January 25, 2014. We'll have an impartial panel of 5 judges who'll pick the band to represent us, and they'll follow the scoring system suggested by the Blues Foundation scoring.

Here's the lineup.

Blues in the School Day @ Louie's Dixie Kitchen & BBQ

[Louie's Dixie Kitchen & BBQ]

Monday, September 23
Louie's Dixie Kitchen & BBQ
1104 N. Cunningham Ave, Urbana

[Blues Foundation's BITS Logo] We had a BITS fundraiser at Louie's Dixie Kitchen on Monday September 23. Thanks to the friendly and civic-minded owners of Louie's, Leah Petit and Dirk Bodine. Leah and Dirk have been hosting fundraisers for local charities since they opened and they are also blues fans, so Blues in the Schools is a cause that they are happy to support! Our BITS fund received 10% of their sales that day.

Thanks also to Josh Spence who played live at Louie's during dinner. It was great music, great fun and great food all in one.

Fundraiser/Celebration of Life for Carolyn Johnson

[The Painkillers 2010]

Sunday, August 18
Memphis On Main
55 E. Main St. in Champaign
Time: 2:00pm - 6:00pm

What a wonderful event last Sunday to honor the memory of Carolyn Johnson. Prairie Crossroads Blues Society and The Painkillers want to send a huge Thank You to all the folks who came together and made Carolyn's Celebration of Life such a success.

Thanks to all the musicians who presented an entire day of outstanding performances. Matt & Tom Turino with Claire Johnson, The Impalas, The Sugar Prophets, The Painkillers and Kilborn Alley Blues Band. It was a treat to see all the guest artists such as Kathy Harden, Candy Foster, Susan Williams, Bob Watson and the guest drummers.

Thanks to Kathi Cullop, Mary Ann Wilson, Hickory River, El Toro, Memphis on Main and PCBS for donating raffle items. It was a fantastic day and a fun way to honor Carolyn and raise some money for her family to help with her funeral expenses.

Champaign Blues Brews & BBQ Fest
Friday & Saturday, June 28 & 29

It was awesome to meet so many enthusiastic blues fans at the Champaign Blues Brews & BBQ Fest. There was some outstanding music by established stars and some eye opening performances by some young rising stars. We compiled your thoughts in our Man On The Street article in our July Newsletter.

Thanks to all the artists who performed on our stage throughout the weekend, and a special thanks to all our dedicated Blues Fest Volunteers.

[RSW Logo] Thanks to the fine folks at Rossville Sound Werx who provded us with a 1 x 12 professional series speaker and cabinet (Celestion Vintage 30) for us to raffle off.

Rossville Sound Werx manufactures speaker cabinets in various configurations and hand-wired point-to-point tube amplifiers. Their products provide quality, durability and awesome sound. Check out all their terrific products.

[USRC Logo] A special thanks goes out to Scott Hays and our friends at the Upper Sangamon River Conservancy who loaned us a second pop up tent to use at this year's fest. You can also check out USRC and all the great things they're involved in on Facebook.

Thanks for helping us preserve, promote and educate about the blues!

[Kilborn Alley Promo Picture]

Saturday, April 27
The Iron Post
120 S. Race St., Urbana
The Kilborn Alley Blues Band
13th Anniversary Party

What a fun party Kilborn Alley Blues Band and their guests put on to celebrate their 13th Anniversary at The Iron Post on Saturday April 27. Featured singer Abraham Johnson, original harmonica player Joe Asselin, Dave Fauble on sax, with Willie Buck sittin' in on vocals, Martin Lang on harmonica, and multi-instrumentalist Gerry Hundt on guitar, mandolin, harmonica and keyboards.

The club was packed and everyone had a great time.

Check out Kilborn's website; Kilborn Alley or their Facebook page for their complete schedule and more info.

For information on other shows, check our Calendar page.

[Matthew Curry Promo Picture]

Saturday, April 13
Memphis on Main
55 E. Main St., Champaign
Matthew Curry & the Fury

Matthew brought his rockin' blues back to town to thrill area blues fans during the Boneyard Arts Festival. Matthew and the band are releasing a new CD "Electric Religion" and they played some great new tunes along with many of the old favorites. This was a show not to be missed!

Check out Matthew's website; Matthew Curry or his Facebook page for more info. There's even some samples of the new songs including the single "Love Me Right", so give them a listen.

The Big Damn Blues Revolution
Sunday April 7 at the Highdive
Moreland & Arbuckle 7:00 pm
Jimbo Mathus 8:00 pm
The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band 9:00 pm

Moreland & Arbuckle started the evening off with their roots blues from Kansas. They were followed by Jimbo Mathus and his Tri-State Coalition with their rockin' country blues. The evening was topped off by Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band. They had the crowd dancing with their Delta Blues with a hillbilly fervor.

Thanks to WWHP 98.3 FM for sponsoring this show. It was fun!

Friday, March 22
Memphis on Main
The Rockin' Johnny Band

The Rockin' Johnny Band has been one of Chicago's most loved blues bands since 1995. They regularly tour Europe and play at festivals throughout the Midwest. The Rockin' Johnny Band plays vintage Chicago blues, but also is known for a wide repertoire which ventures into Stax style soul, swing, and lots of originals that are harder to classify.

We had a great time at Memphis on Main with a taste of Chicago blues right in our own backyard.

IBC Fundraiser January 19, 2013
Jerry Lee & The Juju Kings

Memphis on Main
55 E. Main St.,
Champaign, IL

[Jerry Lee Gingery]

Whether he straps on a guitar or a bass or elects to set his instrument aside and simply sing, Jerry Lee Gingery is the driving force behind the Juju Kings and you had best be ready to move to the groove. Jerry Lee brings his own unique style of charismatic energy to his performance and infects those around him with an uplifted energy and spirit.

Jerry Lee & The Juju Kings are hard at work preparing for the competition they'll face in Memphis. Come out and help us give them a big send-off.

The Susan Williams Band opens the show at Memphis on Main. Susan and her band play a wide range of styles from Blues to Rock and Country. Susan is known to belt out a Patsy Cline song followed by Koko Taylor, followed by Janis Joplin.

Come early and stay late! - Memphis on Main is excited that Lord & Lacy BBQ will be selling their delicious food from 6:00 to 9:00pm. Blues musicians bring your instruments as Jerry and the band will be hosting a late night jam!

Friday Blues—December 21, 2012
Johnny Rawls w/opener The Sugar Prophets

The High Dive
51 E. Main St.,
Champaign, IL

[Johnny Rawls poster]

Johnny Rawls was born in Columbia, Mississippi in 1951 and raised in Purvis and Gulfport, Mississippi. He acquired an early interest in music when hearing his grandfather play the blues guitar one Christmas morning.

He began playing professionally while still in high school with such stars as ZZ Hill, Little Johnny Taylor, Joe Tex and the Sweet Inspirations. In the mid-70's, Johnny went to work for OV Wright as Wright's band director. After Wright's death in 1980, Johnny led Little Johnny Taylor's band until 1985, when he began touring as a solo artist and made his first solo recording under the Rainbow label.

Johnny has performed at the Chicago Blues Festival twice, The Russian River Blues Festival, The King Biscuit Blues Festival, The Portland Waterfront Blues Festival, Poconos, as well as festivals in Sweden and Poland. He tours constantly, playing well over 200 dates a year. He can also be heard on XM radio's Bluesville. Whether he is playing in a small club or a large blues festival, Johnny gives it his all and the crowds love him!

Johnny's been nominated for 9 Blues Music Awards and his "Ace Of Spades" CD won the BMA for Soul Blues Album of the Year in 2010. Johnny's latest CD Soul Survivor on Catfood Records, continues his string of great albums that feature old school soul and laid back blues.

The Sugar Prophets have a sound heavily rooted in the blues and rock 'n roll of the 50's-70's with hints of soul, jam band, reggae, and funk.

Friday Blues—November 30, 2012
James Armstrong w/opener James Jones Trio
Memphis on Main

[James Armstrong BATB CD]

Guitarist, singer and songwriter James Armstrong was born to play the blues. His mother was a blues singer. His father played jazz guitar. Born in Los Angeles, California, Armstrong formed his first band in the seventh grade and by the age of 17 he was touring the country. Today he travels the world and continues to infuse his voice and guitar playing with his unique personality and seasoned skills.

In the early 90's he spent quality time with one of his major influences, Albert Collins. After A later tragedy he gained "a whole new respect for the music itself, the power in slow blues, how the silences between the notes are as important as the notes". His third CD "Got It Goin' On" garnered two W.C. Handy Award nominations for Best Blues Guitarist and Best Song of The Year for "Pennies and Picks".

His most recent CD "Blues At The Border" on his new label Catfood Records, manages to honor the sound of traditional blues while giving it the contemporary grit his fans have grown accustomed to hearing from James.

The James Jones Trio wowed the audience at our Oct. 20th IBC challenge playing traditional blues with a young approach and feel. The Trio consists of James Jones on guitar and vocals, Aaron Bouslog on the drums, and Mitchell Killough on the bass guitar.

2nd annual IBC challenge
Saturday, October 20, 2012

[IBC Band Poster] Memphis on Main
55 E. Main St., Champaign, IL

Congratulations to Jerry Lee & the Juju Kings on winning our 2nd Annual IBC Challenge on Saturday Oct. 20th at Memphis on Main. It was a fun day and a very close competition. All the bands were excellent. Thanks to all the fans, bands, judges and our sponsors who made it such a great event.

  • The Ars Nova - A new band formed in the basement of Acacia Fraternity in the fall of 2011, they draw on the influences of Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin and Stevie Ray Vaughan
  • Delta Kings - First formed in 1992, they've honed their sound playing numerous roadhouses, biker bashes and music festivals throughout downstate Illinois
  • The James Jones Trio - A new band from Danville formed one month ago. The James Jones Trio plays traditional blues with a young approach and feel
  • Benny Jenkins bloodline - The band has a post war/Chicago blues style feel with a rockabilly energy, they're influenced by Muddy, B.B., Albert, Paul Butterfield and Sonny Boy Williamson
  • Susan Williams Band -œ Susan first started singing the blues when she moved to Chicago in the 90's, she's been influenced by Bonnie Raitt, Koko Taylor and Janis Joplin
  • Jerry Lee and the Juju Kings - Jerry Lee brings his own unique style of charismatic energy to his performance and writes "blues collar" songs

We plan to have some great blues music, some great BBQ and some great blues fans at the competition. Come out to Memphis on Main on October 20th and root for your favorite band. Thanks to all the bands who signed up, we're looking forward to a great competition.

The 44's

Sunday, September 16, 2012 The Whip WWHP Presents the 44's @ Rose bowl Tavern

106 N Race St., Urbana, IL
(217) 367-7031
Doors: 6:00 PM
Set: 7:00 PM
All Ages
Tickets: $12.00

American Blues News Awarded the 44's The Best Blues Band of 2011 and Blues Underground Network Awarded them Best Debut Album for their first release, Boogie Disease. Their second release, Americana on Rip Cat Records, shows a "genuine gift for creating blues in the moment while at the same time showing loyalty to a remarkable blues-and-r&b tradition that goes back decades through the James Harman Band and the Red Devils to storied greats like Howlin' Wolf, Albert Collins, and Muddy Waters."
The 44's

Donna Herula

[Donna Herula] Donna was a huge hit at the 2011 CU Folk and Roots Fest and she returned to the area for a full show August 18 at The Iron Post in Urbana. Donna is a singer and slide guitar player who plays Delta as well as as other blues styles. Her performances feature songs by many of the great early blues women as well as Robert Nighthawk, Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson. PCBS was pleased to help bring Donna back for both a workshop and a concert performance.

Birthday Celebration

Thanks to everyone who came out and helped us celebrate our 2nd Birthday Wednesday August 1, at D.R. Diggers, 604 S. Country Fair Dr. in Champaign. Kilborn Alley Blues Band even had a couple guests, Mike Ledbetter and Patrick Seals of the Nick Moss Band join the celebration. There was plenty of free food, friends and great music that kept the party rolling. Thanks again!

Blues Brews & BBQ's Fest

Thanks to all the fans, musicians, and volunteers who made our presence at the Champaign Blues, Brews & BBQ's Fest such a great time. Thanks to Fluid Events and the Orpheum Chilren's Museum for giving us the opportunity to present our series of workshops. It was a pleasure to be a part of such a fun event.

PCBS "Blues In The Schools" (BITS) Stage located in the Orpheum Children's Museum
part of Champaign Blues Brews & BBQ's
Friday & Saturday June 29th and 30th

Friday June 29th
Friday's event featured the GH Strummers, Blues History, Interactive Displays and Blues Dancing Lessons.

Saturday June 30th
PCBS wishes to thank all the performers who made our series of Workshops on Saturday a great event. In order of appearance, Doug Schroer, David Adcock, Bruce "Bruiser" Rummenie, Michael Powers, Chrissy Sparks Rigsby, Brandon T. Washington, the bluesCentral dancers, and Matt Stewart. Thank You.

Music From the Big House - with Live Concert
Sunday July 1 - The Art Theater - 1:00pm

Rita Chiarelli's documentary movie from one of the birthplaces of the Blues
Louisiana State Prison (a.k.a. Angola)
Watch the trailer

1st Friday Blues—June 1, 2012
Tee Dee Young

[Tee Dee Young]

Tee Dee Young born in Lexington, Kentucky, got his start playing the guitar at the age of thirteen mentored by the late Mr. Harrison Coleman. He learned to sing from his father, gospel singer Leonard Young, and was influenced by his brother George Young, who encouraged him to never change his style. Tee Dee has performed at blues clubs such as The Cotton Club, Albert King's, B.B. King's and Kington Mines. He has opened for Johnny Rawls, Guitar Shorty, Big Bill Morgan, Albert King and Lil "Howling" Wolf among others.

Tee Dee was voted 2011 Beale Street Blues King by the Beale Street Merchants Association in Memphis, Tenn. He has four albums, the most recent, Dream the Blues, released in January 2011.

1st Friday Blues—May 4, 2012
Gerome Durham

[Gerome Durham Blues After Dark CD cover]

Mississippi Blues Boy, Gerome Durham as a young boy picked cotton and plowed fields in Durant, MS. He later moved to North Carolina, back to Jackson, MS and in 1965 moved to Milwaukee, WI. In Milwaukee, he met Mr. Johnny Rawls and started his music career. Johnny took him under his wing, and began taking him on the road with him.

Gerome's music career has spanned 20 years. He's released 4 previous CD's titled; "Walk In", "Stepping Out", "Gerome Durham" and "Blues After Dark". Gerome's recent performances include: 930 Blues Club in Jackson, MS; Morgan Freeman's Place in Clarksdale, MS; Starlight's Lounge in Sterling, IN; Buddy Guy's Legend in Chicago, IL; Edge of Town in New Albany; Checker's in Cedar Rapid. IA; Pomeroy Blues Festival in Pomeroy, OH.

12th Anniversary Show & Jam - Sunday April 29, 2012
5:00 to 8:00 PM in Mike & Molly's Beer Garden
Kilborn Alley Blues Band

[Kilborn Alley pic from Four CD]

Come out and help Kilborn Alley Blues Band celebrate their 12th Anniversary. They'll be playing a gig at Mike & Molly's Beer Garden, 105 N. Market St., in downtown Champaign on Sunday April 29, from 5:00 to 8:00 PM. Kilborn Alley has been nominated for Blues Music Awards (BMA's) in 2007, 2008, and 2011 and their recent CD release "Four" hit #1 on the Living Blues Magazine's Radio Chart in December.

Kilborn will entertain the crowd during their first set, and will host a Blues Jam during their second set. Come on out all you jammers! This promises to be a great time!

1st Friday Blues—April 6, 2012
Smilin' Bobby

[Smilin' Bobby CD cover]

Smilin' Bobby. One of the most underrated bluesmen on the Chicago scene! Smilin' Bobby has a unique, biting guitar attack which is a cross between Magic Slim's stinging leads and Magic Sam's cool little rhythm fills. Complimented by his great tuff vocals, he is an absolutely fantastic entertainer. They don't call him Smilin' Bobby for nothin! He recently cut a new CD for Austria's Wolf Records — Big Legged Woman.

In 1958 Smilin' Bobby started to play music in clubs and started playing on Maxwell Street Sunday mornings beginning around 1961 or '62. He became a close friend to Magic Sam and used to hang around at his house. He was influenced by Jimmy Reed and Willie Mabon, also Little Milton, Albert Collins and Albert King. Smilin' Bobby plays most often on small, funky west side taverns, has made numerous appearances at the Chicago Blues Fest along with many European Festivals.

Sunday, March 25
The Sugar Prophets w/Trent Romens & Terry Quiett Band The Stop, 3515 N. Cunningham Ave., Urbana, IL

Trent Romens is a 19 year old Blues-Rock guitarist, singer/songwriter whose "passion spills over to the audience during his live performances. 'He plays from the heart,' says Elijah Blue, Trent's first jam session leader, who has witnessed Trent's rapid rise from jam session favorite to headline star. 'Every time he plays, he plays something fresh and new. There's an excitement there that's captivating.'"
Trent Romens website

"Terry Quiett explodes every power trio cliche by cutting a broad swath of striking original material from haunting Delta blues and sophisticated jazzy swing to chesty rock featuring his flawless guitar technique and deeply soulful vocals. Emerging from the rural plains of Kansas and evolving in the last decade from a solo acoustic singer/songwriter to lead the band of bassist Aaron Underwood and drummer Rodney Baker since 2006, Quiett has a commanding presence onstage and in the studio. His latest release Just My Luck, produced by the legendary Jim Gaines and augmented with keyboardists Rick Steff and Beau Jarvis, is a modern masterpiece of highly charged, blues-based music."
The Terry Quiett Band website

Bio 2011 International Blues Challenge Finalist, The Sugar Prophets, are an interesting amalgam of backgrounds and talent that have seemingly merged together in the right time, place, and groove.
The Sugar Prophets on Reverbnation

March 2, 2012
Danny & The Devils

What a fun evening! Danny & The Devils rocked the airwaves on WEFT 90.1FM radio from 8:15 to 8:45, then they moved up the street to play at Memphis on Main after 10pm. The opening act at Memphis on Main was Champaign's own Full Throttle Band and they got the crowd revved up with their set of Rockin' Blues tunes. Danny & The Devils kept the club full of dancing blues fans till the small hours of the morning.


Feb. 11, 2012
CD Release Party
for The Painkillers' new CD "Done Me Wrong"
The Iron Post - 6 to 9pm

Mark your calendars and join The Painkillers for a fun night of celebration on Saturday, February 11 at The Iron Post !!! The Painkillers on Facebook

Sunday January 29, 2012 - 2:00pm
The Sugar Prophets
Memphis on Main - Champaign

A fundraiser for The Sugar Prophets, it's their last CU gig before they head down to Memphis to compete in the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge at the end of the month. Come out to send the guys off on a high note!

[Hurricane Ruth] Jan. 6, 2012
January 1st Friday Blues
Hurricane Ruth at WEFT and Memphis on Main
Opening set at Memphis on Main: The Diva & The Dude

Hurricane Ruth, our IBC challenge winner, blew back into town for our second 1st Friday event. It was a great night with lots of blues fans in the house to send the band off to the Blues Foundation International Challenge in Memphis, TN at the end of the month.

The Diva and The Dude, Kathy Harden and Andy Baylor, entertained us at Memphis on Main for the first set, while Hurricane Ruth did the Blues Live show at WEFT. Our thanks to Kathy and Andy as well. They put on a great show.

Friday, Dec. 2, 2011
1st Friday Blues
Matt Hill & The Deep Fryed Two WEFT and Memphis on Main

Thanks to Matt Hill and The Deep Fryed Two (Joe Meyer and Paul Niehaus) for coming up for our initial 1st Friday event. This band is so much fun to watch. They kept us entertained all night and filled the dance floor. We had a wonderful time and look forward to hearing more from this group.

Check out some of the photos from the event on our Facebook page.

Kilborn Alley Blues Band Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011
Kilborn Alley CD Release Party
The Iron Post

Kilborn Alley released their latest CD, Four, on Blue Bella Records, on Nov. 22 during their European tour.

Their first stop when they got back to the States was The Iron Post for their Champaign-Urbana CD Release party. What a great night. Their fans came out and stayed. Abraham was there of course, Doug Schorer sat in for a couple of tunes and a kid harmonica player named P.J. came out of the audience and blew everyone away.

Abraham Johnson

Their latest CD features all original music with a few guests sitting in here and there: Gerry Hundt on harp, Vince Salerno on sax and Ardell T Reed (Travis Reed) on organ!

We got to hear Couple of Days (Change My Ways), You Were My Woman, and Going Hard. We were also treated to Redneck in a Soul Band and Come Home Soon from "Tear Chicago Down" and a crowd-participation version of Shout. Fun, fun, fun!

Friday & Saturday, Nov. 4-5, 2011
C-U Folk & Roots Festival
Downtown Urbana

Prairie Crossroads Blues Society was so happy to be participate this year. C-U Folk and Roots hosts this annual festival to support and promote the folk arts in Central Illinois. The scope is broad - you'll find Cajun, old-time, bluegrass, folk, traditional jazz, blues, klezmer, Irish, western swing, storytelling, song circles, shape-note singing, traditional dance, arts and crafts, jamming, family activities, workshops, and much more.

PCBS and WEFT 90.1 FM co-hosted the Iron Post stage on Saturday night.

Donna Herula also hosted a guitar workshop at Corson Music on Saturday from 1-2.
What a great event, Prairie Crossroads Blues Society was pleased to contribute and help make this event such a great success.

Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011
1st Annual PCBS Blues Band Challenge
Memphis on Main

Hurricane Ruth winners of PCBS IBC Challenge 2011
As an affiliate of The Blues Foundation, PCBS took part in The International Blues Challenge (IBC), where local blues societies from around the world hold competitions for bands to send to Memphis in January to compete.

Hurricane Ruth won the competition and we finished the night with a great performance by The Terry Quiett Band, a rocking blues band from Kansas.

Skins 'n Tins donated the use of a drum set, Memphis on Main provided a great venue, as always, and the folks from Holy Smoke BBQ were there with pulled pork and brisket sandwiches.

It was an awesome competition with great performances by these bands:


Sunday, August 14
Lake of the Woods Blues Festival

This is an exciting new outdoor festival for East Central Illinois.
The inaugural event included:
Big Black Hand (Elam McKnight & Bob Bogdal)
and Champaign's own Kilborn Alley Blues Band.

Saturday July 30
The Painkillers
A PCBS member band, and an early supporter, played at the beautiful outdoor setting:
Alto Vineyards - 4210 North Duncan Rd. Champaign, IL
The Painkillers play a hefty mix of traditional Chicago and Southern Blues along with a variety of classic crooners and original tunes. Part of the Music Among the Vines series.

Friday & Saturday June 24 & 25
Urbana Blues, Brews & BBQ's - urbanablues.com

    Friday's lineup
  • Keith Harden
  • Guitar Shorty
  • Lil Ed & the Blues Imperials
  • The Kinsey Report
    Saturday's lineup
  • Kings Highway
  • Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat
  • John Primer
  • Jimmy Thackery
  • Duke Robillard
  • Coco Montoya
  • The Chris Duarte Group
What a great weekend! Thanks to all who attended!

Sunday June 12 - 3:00pm
Memphis on Main Blues Show - 55 E. Main St. Champaign, IL
Featuring, Eli Cook, Terry Quiett Band, Kilborn Alley Blues Band

[Jr. Boy Gettin' It Real CD cover] April 2
Andrew "Jr. Boy" Jones Band were special guests of the Kilborn Alley Blues Band at The Phoenix - 215 S. Neil St. Champaign
Andrew "Jr. Boy" Jones is a former sideman from the late, great Freddie King's band and has played, recorded and toured with the likes of Charlie Musselwhite and Katie Webster. He and his band record on the Electro-Fi label and have toured extensively throughout the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia. Come on out and bring your blues shoes; there's gonna be dancin' and carryin'-on!

[Eric McSpadden] March 20
Kilborn Alley Blues Band played with special guest Eric McSpadden
Memphis on Main - 55 E. Main St. Champaign
PCBS had a membership table and assisted with the show
Eric McSpadden grew up in Decatur and has been one of the finest harp players on the St Louis Blues scene for the last 30 years.

[Sugar Prophets debut CD cover] Sugar Prophets CD release/Memphis or Bust Party!

The Sugar Prophets hosted a fundraiser for their trip to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN. Feb. 1st thru the 5th. It happened at Memphis on Main, 55 E. Main St. in Champaign on Sunday Jan. 30th.

There were musical guests, great BBQ, a slient auction and plenty of PCBS members there to lend their support. Here are the details. Here is the Event Poster.

Keith Harden receives PCBS Membership

[Keithmas - Rich + Keith Honorary Membership]
Keith, singer/songwriter, was presented with a framed certificate commemorating his Honorary Membership and a Prairie Crossroads Blues Society t-shirt at his annual Keithmas show Dec. 23, 2010, at The Iron Post in Urbana. Here's all the details.

Kick Out The Blues Fall Festival

[Prairie Crossroads Blues Society at KOTBFF]
The Kick Out The Blues Fall Festival was a great success

The Prairie Crossroads Blues Society wishes to Thank the following:
The Painkillers, The Sugar Prophets, The Kilborn Alley Blues Band
Ben and Tiffany and all the fine folks at Memphis on Main

Check out all the donors and contributors at our Thank You Page.

Thanks to WAND-TV for featuring us on their newscast Sunday evening, Nov. 21 2010, with a story about us and our Blues In The Schools programs.
Thanks also to WICD ABC Newschannel 15 for this story on our event and educational efforts.