The 2013 Riverfront Times Music Showcase is this weekend! Think of it as St. Louis music's own official holiday and consider this the season. Throughout May we at RFT Music have been working hard to make our cases for all 130 bands and artists nominated for an RFT Music Award this year in 26 categories. Read on and get yourself acquainted, and we'll see you at the showcase (check out this post for the full schedule)!
Boo Boo Davis
Boo Boo Davis may be a longtime St. Louis bluesman, but his music is rooted in the Mississippi Delta and the cotton fields he left behind long ago. Born and raised in Drew, Mississippi, Boo Boo soaked up the blues of immortals like Elmore James and John Lee Hooker thanks to his his father's musical tutelage, eventually becoming a protégé of B.B. King. Lucky for us, Davis made St. Louis his home base, bringing a deeply Southern and ultimately rural power to our city's urban sound -- as elemental as a field holler and as funky as a swamp after a thunderstorm. -Roy Kasten
Cee Cee James
A slinky outlaw blues singer with a howling voice that recalls no one so much as Janis Joplin, Cee Cee James commands a stage like few performers in town. Previously based on the West Coast, James first tried Nashville as a base for touring but eventually chose St. Louis even though the blues competition is fierce. James could care less, as her storming delivery and the acid-laced slide guitar of her chief collaborator (and husband) Rob "Slideboy" Andrews sounds like nothing else on the St. Louis scene. The title to her latest album says it all: Blood Red Blues. -Roy Kasten
Rum Drum Ramblers
Though its accomplishments may have been overshadowed by the meteoric rise of Pokey LaFarge (whose band shares two of its members), the Rum Drum Ramblers -- led by singer, songwriter and whiplash-guitarist Mat Wilson -- are as essential to the blues and roots revival in St. Louis as any band you could name. By virtue of talent and vision, the Ramblers explore and explode the connections between folk, blues, country, swing and rock & roll, pushing each song to the breaking point to create gritty and danceable American music. -Roy Kasten
The Bottoms Up Blues Gang
You don't have to sew a patch onto your leather jacket or undergo rigorous hazing to join the Bottoms Up Blues Gang. Simply live in St. Louis, play an instrument, and speak pre-war blues like a second language; you will be riding alongside ganglords Kari Liston and Jeremy Segel-Moss in no time. The band's open-door policy and revolving-door membership works because a plethora of like-minded local musicians (including expert harmonica-slinger Adam Andrews) are beyond comfortable riffing on the duo's songbook. The Gang's tunes could pass as age-worn classics, especially when coming from the pipes of Kari Liston, a charismatic frontwoman with the voice of an angel, expelled from heaven for debauchery. -Ryan Wasoba
The Jeremiah Johnson Band
With a deep Southern twang and a fully electrified sound, the Jeremiah Johnson Band could have been major country-blues-rock stars in an age when the Allman Brothers, Stevie Ray Vaughan and ZZ Top still roamed the earth at full chart-topping power. And who knows? Johnson and company may yet become national stars. "Southern Drawl," with its Marshall Tucker Band flutes and nods to simple pleasures like baseball and fishing, is an irresistible single, as catchy (and twice as tough) as anything you'll hear on country radio today. -Roy Kasten
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