The smokin' rib joint's free, fourth annual blues extravaganza in the heart of downtown Minneapolis again promises to be one of the best bargains of the year. The 2008 version features a potent lineup of a dozen national and local artists arrayed on a pair of stages in Peavey Plaza and on nearby Nicollet Mall. Guitar monsters will be abundant, including a pair of slide sizzlers: San Francisco vet Ron Thompson, who led John Lee Hooker's band before forming his own Resistors, and Ellen McIlwaine, another vet who in recent years has mixed reggae and funk into her blues. Then there are a pair of Texas guitar slingers: Andrew "Jr. Boy" Jones, and Smokin' Joe Kubek, whose dynamic partnership with fellow guitarist and soulful singer Bnois King recently produced their 11th (and first for Alligator) album, Blood Brothers. And don't forget local guitarists Moses Oakland, whose band will be augmented by powerhouse singer Barbara LeShoure, and fingerstyle king Peter Lang, whose recent return to early blues has resulted in some of the finest work of a storied career. Rounding out the lineup will be Ronn Easton's All Star Soul Revue, tenor sax honker Big Jay McNeely backed by the Solid Senders, displaced New Orleans R&B singer Willie West, piano-pounder Tom Hunter, the guitar-and-harmonic duo Paul Metsa and Sonny Earl, and the fine modern jug/old-timey outfit the Brass Kings. For more info call 612.822.9900 or visit famousdaves.com.
Sat., June 7, 12-10:30 p.m., 2008