Bluesman wails at Ice House concert
Notes bluesman Billy Thompson assembles outstanding musicians and vocalists for a President's Day weekend concert at the Ice House in Berkeley Springs on Saturday, February 18 at 7:30 p.m.
One of the west coast's best blues guitarist and much sought after sideman for years, when Thompson decided to become "the leader," and assemble his own bands, he always sought quality musicians.
For Saturday's concert, Thompson has Washington, D.C. standout drummer, Eric Selby as well as Gene Monroe on bass and Ricky Wilkins on keyboards. Wilkins' blues creds include playing with Razzy Bailey and Catfish Hodge. "This is the band I'm taking to the Western Maryland Blues Festival this June," said Thompson.
"For Berkeley Springs, we'll be in touch with our feminine side too," he laughs. A trio of impressive ladies joins the band for vocals including local favorites Mary Hott and Angela Petry as well as Amanda Wilkins (wife of the keyboardist.)
In 2011, Thompson added a new CD to his credit, produced by Grammy Award winner Tony Braunagel. "A Better Man" has aired all over the US and abroad.
Inspired at age eight when he heard Johnny Horton — "I still love rockabilly because of Johnny," he says -- Thompson began playing the blues nearly 40 years ago. During the 1970s, he moved to country and new wave for a while then returned to the blues in 1986. He has four CDs and a list of "played with" credits that includes almost every major blues figure of the past couple decades as well as stints at the Kennedy Center and with Broadway shows on tour and in New York.
He found his way to West Virginia through the Contemporary American Theater Festival in Shepherdstown when he was songwriter, guitarist and musical supervisor for "Rose of Corazon." For the past three years, Thompson has been wowing regional audiences.
Billy Thompson in concert is sponsored by Panorama, an award-winning location for farm fresh dining. The MAC Ice House concert series is funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, West Virginia Commission on the Arts and local hotel/motel tax revenues.
For more information about the Morgan Arts Council and the calendar of upcoming events call 304-258-2300.
The Ice House is located at Independence and Mercer in Berkeley Springs.