New York State Blues Hall of Fame Inductions on Saturday

 Kerry Kearney and Big Joe Fitz
Inductees Kerry Kearney and Big Joe Fitz

Story by Wanda Callagy

Tickets have been selling quickly for the upcoming New York Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Concert on Saturday (February 16), and Main Street in Tannersville will certainly be lively when the doors of the Orpheum Performing Arts Center open at 7pm.

Inductees include Kerry Kearney, known for his blues slide guitar skills, and Big Joe Fitz, a fundamental figure in keeping the blues on the air with his radio presence in the region. Guitarist Greg Dayton will kick off the line-up of talented musicians performing during the evening. Members and past honorees Bill Sims, Jr. and Sonny Rock will also play. Professor Louie & the Crowmatix will serve as the house band and will also join up with the Greene Room Show Choir directed by Linda Nicholls.

President and Ambassador of the organization Michael Packer will be on hand as well, and he is enthused about the event.

Packer believes in music, and promotes all musicians. He and his blues band will be opening for Buddy Guy at Legends in Chicago in the spring and will be honoring Buddy. He is also a firm supporter of local art and believes in giving a chance – and a venue – to those musicians who may open more doors for themselves by being part of the experience.

“You never know,” said Packer. “My life changed when I had the opportunity to play with Honeyboy Edwards. He was the last living link to Robert Johnson, the last musician known to have played with him. He was 94 years old and absolutely amazing, as clear as a bell. It was very cool. I want all musicians to have a
moment like that.”

Professor Louie says he and his band are looking forward to performing with the Greene Room Choir, noting that lots of community involvement went into the plans of this event.

“It is a tremendous honor to be respected for your work by your peers,” he said. “Our band does a lot of traveling, both in the states and internationally. This is just a great event, and the acoustics and setting at the Orpheum are really good. We are helping out where we can, and we feel fortunate that folks want to come to see us all play.”

Sonny Rock will be drumming as part of the house band. He is a past honoree and recently returned home after touring to Memphis with Tas Cru & the Tortured Souls to the International Blues Challenge. Rock also promotes local music on his “Local Licks” radio show on Tuesday evenings on WRIP-FM in Hunter.

He also says that he will be glad to be part of the event. “Lots of tremendous local talent will be there performing,” Rock said. “I was grateful to be honored last year and looking forward to sitting in to play. We will have a good time.”

New York Blues Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Concert will be held at the Orpheum Performing Arts Center in Tannersville at 7pm on Saturday (February 16).

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