Earl “The Pearl” Banks to headline Exit 56 Blues Fest
BROWNSVILLE TN (May 9, 2016):
Blues fans from around the globe are invited to the 6th Annual Exit 56 Blues Fest May 28-29 in Brownsville Tenn. For the first time, this event will feature two days of music including award-winning Blues artist Earl “The Pearl” Banks and a Women in Blues showcase performed on the grounds of the West Tennessee Delta Heritage Center.
Headlining this year’s event is Earl “The Pearl” Banks and The People of the Blues. Banks, a Germantown Tenn., native, began playing the piano at the age of six. By the time he was 10, he was slipping away to juke joints and playing piano with anyone who would allow it. Finding limited opportunities as a piano player, he quickly made the transition to guitar and formed The Blue Dots. During the 60s, Banks formed a second band, The Soul Soothers, and for years backed up such artists as Al Green, Rufus Thomas, and Koko Taylor.
Banks has recorded and performed with numerous bands over the years, receiving awards such as Beale Street Entertainer of the Year, The W. C. Handy Award, Authentic Beale Street Musician Award and in 2013 received a Brass Note on Beale Street Walk of Fame. Currently, Banks and his band play local gigs around Memphis. The band consists of Memphis musicians Eric Lewis, Dennis Falanga, legendary bassist Leroy Hodges Jr. and keyboardist Archie Turner. Banks takes the stage at 9 pm, Saturday evening.
Also performing for the first time at the festival are Brownsville’s T-Bone Taylor, Rick Rushing and The Blues Strangers of Chattanooga, Tenn., and from Glasgow, Kentucky, the “heavy Blues with rock infused rhythm” of the band OTIS. Returning are regional favorites Little Boys Blue, Sean “Bad” Apple, Linzie Butler, The Delta Project and the “Tulsa Kid” Dylan Whitney.
Sunday’s performances will feature a Women in Blues showcase featuring four award-winning female artists. Singer and songwriter Sandy Carroll, who has performed with many of the greats and her songs have been recorded by artist such as Albert King and Luther Allison, will open the showcase at 1 pm. Following Carroll will be the ” Reigning Queen of Beale,” Barbara Blue. With her gritty urban Blues and soul sound, Blue has been compared to Etta James and Koko Taylor.
Reba Russell has been a force in the Memphis music scene for over 30 years, has released eight CDs and a long list of backing vocal credits with artists such as U2, Huey Lewis, Lucero and more. She has played festivals and clubs around the world.
Rounding out the Women in Blues showcase will be Lorina McMinn. Her parents, Don McMinn and the late Virginia Martin, are considered Blues royalty in Memphis and she has performed with many of the greats including Bon Jovi, Tennie Hodges, Rufus Thomas and the Memphis Horns. McMinn has a rocking Blues style and includes the audience in her shows.
The Exit 56 Blues Fest will also include a Corvette Car Show, Exit 56 Cruise-In, Deep-Fried Barbecue Eating competition and craft vendors. For information and a detailed schedule, please visit www.exit56blues.com or call the Delta Heritage Center at 731-779-9000.