And DJs too!
Bringing you the Best Live Blues Music and fabulous Blues and Fusion DJs for our 4 nights of dancing. Read on to get excited about the bands and DJs at Mile High Blues 2017!
Hors d’oeuvre, Performances, and Community Awards followed by
Dancing to our Fabulous Blues DJs!
Ronnie Shellist and Anthony Russo followed by
Johnny Long and our
Fabulous Blues and Fusion DJs!
G’Jai’s Jook Joint Band followed by
Ronnie Shellist and Moses Walker and our
Fabulous Blues and Fusion DJs!
Ricky Earl along with a light breakfast.
Dance, hang out, and eat with us!
Joe Smith and the Spicy Pickles followed by
Sean Hunting Morse and our
Fabulous Blues and Fusion DJs!
Joe Smith and the Spicy Pickles – Tin Roof Blues (recorded at Mile High Blues 2016)
Read on to learn more about each of our featured live acts and DJs!
Ronnie Shellist has been honing his harmonica skills for the past 20 years. His musical career began in 1997 working with singer/songwriter Hugh Fadal from Austin,TX. Blues great Gary Primich was a huge influence on his music as well as Guy Forsyth and Walter T. Higgs who lived and played in Austin in the mid 90’s. “If it weren’t for those guys, I never would have pushed as hard as I did to learn how to get that sound out of my harp” Thanks to a great blues scene in Austin at the time, Ronnie had an up close and personal experiences in the scene that heavily influenced his ultimate musical direction. His style is a combination of mostly Chicago and West Coast blues influenced by funk and jazz greats such as Grant Green and Maceo Parker.
In 1998, Ronnie moved to Colorado where he teamed up with the band Available Jones, a high energy funk/rock band, and toured the US in 2000. He has worked with many greats in Colorado throughout the past 15 years including such locals as John Alex Mason, Lionel Young, Rich Reno, Bob Pellegrino, Rex Peoples and Erica Brown.
By 2006, Ronnie began posting performances on YouTube which currently have over 9 million views. Ronnie’s live performances include opening for such greats as BB King, Charlie Musselwhite, Robert Cray and the Neville Brothers. His first official CD was recorded in 2007, titled Chicago Sessions: Blues Revue said: “the show belongs to Shellist’s toneful harp..” Tom Hyslop, Blues Revue Magazine. His newest CD “Till Then” was released in March 2012, and features both original songs, and a few classics. It has rave reviews from harmonica greats Kim Wilson and Charlie Musselwhite.
Currently Ronnie performs in/around Denver, CO where he resides, but also travels extensively around the U.S. with his music and harmonica workshops. He works with Kilborn Alley, Corey Dennison, and Gerry Hundt around the Chicago,IL area. Ronnie is a Hohner Music artist, endorser, and clinician. He has traveled the U.S. from coast to coast with the Hohner Roadshow. These shows are a mix of performance, teaching, and product demonstration.
Through middle and high school Anthony formed many basement and garage bands, playing parties any chance he could get. “I remember we were at a party and saw a couple guitars laying around, we just picked them up and started jamming. All of a sudden we look up and everyone at party was gathered around listening, I knew I was on the right track.”
After high school Anthony was waiting tables and working in a call center for a few years, just trying to get by. “One day I just couldn’t take it anymore, sitting in a cubical all day everyday, I knew I had to get out.” Anthony quit his job and decided to pursue his passion for music. Soon after he attended a local open mic and was hired on the spot as the lead guitar player for the house band. After playing with the house band for a year, Anthony decided it was time to form and front his own band in 2013.
The Anthony Russo Band has played all over Colorado for the past few years, making a name for themselves and gaining widespread attention as one of the finest acts around, with their killer musicianship, raw style and exciting energetic live performances.
John Long was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1950 and was first exposed to the music he’d make his life’s work not long after. His mother played several stringed instruments and supplemented the household income by teaching local guitarists. By the late 1950s John was absorbing the sounds of Jimmy Reed, Buster Brown, Muddy Waters, Lightnin ’ Hopkins, Junior Parker, and all the rest of the R&B and jump blues of the day, and working on recreating those sounds with his own guitar. By the early 1960s he was playing professionally in local bands, and digging deeper into the blues, through Muddy, Wolf, and Elmore, to Tampa Red, Peetie Wheatstraw , Leroy Carr & Scrapper Blackwell, Lonnie Johnson and others. As Long immersed himself in the pre-war, acoustic blues era, he began to find a home stylistically, and started writing his own original music, inspired in large part by his brother Claude, whom he still credits as his biggest influence.
The early 1970s found him in Chicago , and it was there that he met another important inspiration: veteran bluesman Homesick James Williamson. Williamson had been playing blues guitar since the pre-war era and was kin to, and bandmate of, blues great Elmore James. Homesick was a surrogate father figure to Long, treating him like a son, showing him the ropes in Chicago, and tutoring him in the subtleties of the blues. For the last 30+ years, Long has been seriously honing his craft, perfecting his art, and finding his voice. His complete recorded works to date consist mainly of a few deeply obscure backing appearances on other people’s sessions, a small handful of home-made recordings done mainly for demo purposes, and a cut on a sampler released by the host of an NPR radio program. “Lost and Found” on Delta Groove is John Long’s first full-length release.
From Delta Groove Productions, Inc.
G'Jai's Jook Joint Band
Like in Jook Joints of the past, you might not always know who was showing up to “give you the blues”, but you knew you were gonna have a good time! And that’s what kept you coming back for more!
Well the 1 thing you can always be sure of with G’JAI’s JOOK JOINT Blues Band is getting a chance to not only hear but feel the blues from the bluesy vocals of “The Little Lady From Detroit”, G’Jai, while being backed by some of the best local and national musical talents.
G’JAI’s JOOK JOINT puts it all on the line for you to experience. This band’s plain ole’ downhome style draw you in and bring you along for the wonderful musical ride. Whether the band is performing Blues, Rhythm & Blues, Soul original tunes or covers, you will feel you are a part of the performance and not just a spectator.
Moses Walker has led quite a diverse life filled with hard work, travels and lots of music. His experiences shine through in his performances, and by the end of one of his shows, you’ll understand why so many people can’t get enough.
His music has been described as a mixture of blues, folk, jazz and a many other influences such as Tom Waits, Leon Redbone, and the list goes on and on. One thing is for sure, Moses’ interpretation of the songs he plays, is all his own!
Ricky Earl is a Louisiana Blues Man, the Piper of the Blues who brings a new vive of blues music to the scene. His Chicago Style Blues Music is a mix of Johnny Taylor, Chuck Berry and Sam Cook, BB king all in one. Ricky was born July 7th, in a small town called Poplar Bluff, Missouri he is one of ten children born to a Baptist Minister of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His family was well known as the gospel group, The Earl Singers. He started playing the piano at age five, then added the bass and the guitar. Ricky’s guitar playing has brought him fame and notoriety throughout the country.
At fourteen, Ricky was introduced to the blues world and joined a group called, the Dayton SideWinders. He continued his destiny by working with some of the greatest blues artist like Little Milton, who groomed him as his band-leader for twelve years. Ricky’s master guitar skills can be heard on LittleMilton’s album, “Live at Westville Prison”. As a product of Little Milton and Albert King, Ricky has been true to keeping the blues alive. He was Albert King’s side man for seven years and he also played with Artie White and Johnny Taylor. He has traveled throughout Europe, Japan, and the United States, and he has made appearances in blues festivals, and venues all over the world.
Ricky Earl is a true blues trend-setter.
The Spicy Pickles
Joe Smith and the Spicy Pickles Jazz Band is a Denver-based vintage jazz band dedicated to revitalizing swing music and dance. This small group style swing band packs a punch of power, personality, and wit into each show, intriguing generations new and old with the beloved charm of big band swing from the late 30’s and early 40’s. The Pickles bring it all – high energy, quality musicianship, and an authentic big band sound and look that celebrate the unique American spirit of swing. The band fuses musical influences from the sounds of Count Basie, Benny Goodman, and Artie Shaw with the showmanship of Louis Armstrong, Lucky Millinder, and Jimmy Lunceford. With a smart respect for the preservation of vintage jazz music and entertainment, the Pickles are constantly adding new and original tunes to their repertoire. They bring a unique visual flair to each performance with gimmicks, tricks, horn movements, and hat work inspired to captivate audiences all night long.
Sean Hunting Morse came to play Blues music first as a Lindy Hopper, then as a Blues dancer. Being a dancer first, Sean “gets it” when it comes to what dancers need to feel comfortable on the dance floor. Every event Sean plays is a true collaboration between performer and dancer. His improvisation is laced with wit, musicality, and always laughter, and his emceeing follows suit. Every show is one-of-a-kind, blending inspiration from the venue, the mood, and, most importantly, the dancers themselves.
Kara Fabina [Blues]
One thing that you can count on from this DJ is a vast understanding of genres. Because of her background in various dance styles, Kara brings a depth of musical knowledge appropriate for dancing. Her loves vary from House to Funk, Old School Hip Hop, Vintage Jazz, Blues and Soul. She has a not so secret adoration for mashups, and has even dabbled in beat production and mixology. With a desire to be a jill of all trades, she began Dj’ing at house parties in 2011. Since then she has gone on to DJ at local dance venues and events throughout the country. Based in Colorado Springs, she works to provide dancers with a variety of blues, jazz, and swing music in her sets. Find out more at kineticallykara.com.
Mark Carpenter [Blues]
Once again hailing from California, Mark is excited to return to Denver to play at MHB for another year. He has been here two times before (MHB’11: Blues, MHB’16: Fusion) and is excited to once again throw down a little blues with some of the best DJs in the world. Mark began blues dancing in 2005 and has been playing music for dancers since the beginning. A founding member of Drop Dead Blues in SLO, he eventually became a house DJ and cut his teeth in the blue glow of Room 225. Since then he has shared his collection of music at dozens of events and local venues spanning four continents. He plays only the most quality songs from his eclectic musical collection and has stolen unapologetically from every great DJ, musician, or music aficionado he’s encountered.
Cierra Ruffin [Blues]
Cierra’s obsession over music and DJing started after watching a dance video with poor audio and searching for 3 days with no sleep until the song was found. Since 2012 Cierra has been collecting and sharing that music to rooms across the country. The sets often are built on mood and every set has up to 80% new music, forcing Cierra to find rarer and most exciting tracks for every set. Come expand and deepen the blues with Cierra!
“Born with the Blues” – Memphis Slim
Kelly Howard [Fusion]
Kelly loves to DJ almost as much as she loves to dance. In 2007, she began her DJ career in Seattle at house parties. Since 2009, she has DJed at blues, swing and fusion venues all over the country. She began traveling in 2012 and has DJed at various dance events in 13 different countries. Kelly combines a wide array of emotions and flavors: angst and grit, passion and despair. She loves creating a challenging atmosphere that keeps dancers wanting more. Some of her all-time favorite artists for fusion dancing are Beats Antique, Meschiya Lake, and Lynx & Janover.
“Heavenly Bodies” – The Human Experience ft. Johnne Perez
“very cool music video” – Kelly
Andrea Santa Maria [Fusion]
“Flood on the Floor” – Purity Ring
Clyde Wright [Fusion]
“Chainsmoking” – Jacob Banks
Rebecca Ortega [Fusion]
Becca (AKA: DJ ‘Tega) is a genre-bender. She has been dancing for five years and is now equal parts teacher, dancer and DJ…all while pursuing a PhD! Becca identifies as a fusion, blues, ballroom, glitch, and liquid fusion dancer. Her DJ style is dynamic and prioritizes fostering the deepest connection possible for those dancing to her sets. Her music features everything from ooey-gooey micro, to juicy remixes, to beautiful lyrical pieces. She believes that a well-timed and crafted set can give any dancer emotional catharsis that can yield a dance high that lasts for hours. Her goal is to give everyone at least one “magic dance”, so be ready for some intense connection!
“Retrograde” (Feki & Glasshouse Cover) – James Blake
Pyro has been dancing in one form or another since he was brought to his first underground warehouse event in Philadelphia in 1999, where he fell in love with electronic dance music. A serendipitous meeting in 2007 on the playa at Black Rock City drew him into the blues and partner dance world, initiating a vibrant dance connection in 2008. Since that time, he has traveled to danced, and DJ’ed all over the USA. While his roots are in electronica, he aims to bring a variety of sounds to all his sets, with a general theme of music being ethereal, emotional, and uplifting, and the goal of every set to give every dancer feeling like they just experienced something epic. He also strives for variety to keep dancers on their toes, and to encourage the creativity and experimentation that continues to push fusion dance into the future.
“Breathe” – Fleurie
Noah Nethero [Fusion]
Noah returns to Denver from his whirlwind US adventures. For the last decade Noah has been a blues and fusion dancer. Years ago, friends brought him to a house party in Denver and from there he was hooked. With the help of all the amazing people in the Denver community, we’ve throw many amazing parties and blues fusion dance nights. Noah’s Denver street cred includes being the past organizer for Tuesday blues and the regular house DJ for “Hot Night” Denver’s longest running blues tango fusion event. Noah is very excited to be back in Denver for Mile High and looks forward to playing all the songs which the community loves and new ones for dancers to discover.
“Diamond in Disguise” – Chance’s End