Event Off Sale: Tickets may still be available at the door.



Sat, October 1, 2016

Doors: 6:00 pm / Show: 7:00 pm

$15.00 - $20.00

Off Sale

This event is 21 and over

Chicago native Billy Boy Arnold took harmonica lessons from Sonny Boy Williamson back in '48, and he ain't looked back since! Cutting his first 78 "Hello Stranger," for the Cool label in '52, he re-surfaced three years later playing with Bo Diddley on his debut, "Bo Diddley"/"I'm A Man" on Checker. Arnold's instant Vee-Jay classic "I Wish You Would" made waves on both sides of the ocean when the Yardbirds covered it more than a decade later. Listen to him blow on "Rockinitis," "Prisoner's Plea," "I Ain't Got You" and other hits from his Vee-Jay catalog and you'll experience harmonica heaven; couple that with a wry lyrical wit that boasts such head spinning lines as "I got a charge account at Goldblatt's" and "I thought she didn't know I had another chick/ Stashed behind the closet door" and you'll simply lose your mind. It's the Arnold experience, and it can't be beat. His two recent albums for Alligator prove in no uncertain terms that his chops and lyrical brilliance remain firmly intact.
Henry Gray was born on January 19, 1925 in Kenner, Louisiana, an outskirt of New Orleans. Within a few years his family moved to a small farm in Alsen, Louisiana a few miles north of Baton Rouge. It was here that Gray began to demonstrate his talent on the piano at the age of eight.

He was exposed to the piano through church, the radio and records, and an elderly woman in his neighborhood, Mrs. White. She recognized Henry's interest and gave him lessons. He began playing piano and organ in the local church. Eventually, Henry's family acquired a piano in their home.

Yet, as with many families, the blues was not allowed to be played on the piano at home, so Henry had to sneak around and play the blues where he could. Fortunately, Mrs. White encouraged Henry to play the blues at her house.

At the age of sixteen, Henry was asked to play with a band at a club near his home in Alsen. He gathered the courage to tell his father. To Henry's surprise, his father agreed, but only if Henry was accompanied by his father. Henry played the gig and made some money. As Henry tells it, "When my father saw that I could make money playing the blues, he liked that all right!"

It was this event, that gave birth to Henry Gray's remarkable sixty year career in the history of the Blues.

Henry served several years in the army during World War II in the south Pacific. On a many of occasions, Henry entertained troops with a piano and his singing. He fondly recalls those moments as they were breaks from the stress of being a war-time soldier.

Shortly before the war was over, Henry was given a medical discharge from the army. He returned to his family's home in Alsen for a short period before leaving to go to Chicago where he had relatives.

Soon after arriving in Chicago in 1946, Henry began frequenting the clubs and joints checking out the piano players and measuring his skills and talents with theirs. At times, he would sit in a play in some of the places.

While doing this, Henry caught the eyes and ears of Big Maceo Merriwether, who is considered one of the best blues and barrel house piano players in history. Maceo was born in Detroit but had moved to Chicago to make money playing the piano. Merriwether mentored Henry and showed him the ropes in the blues scene in Chicago.

It wasn't long before Henry was being sought after for his abilities. For the next twenty-two years, Henry played and/or recorded with many notable players and innovators of the blues.

In 1956, Howlin' Wolf asked Henry to join his band. Henry did and remained Wolf's main piano player until 1968. This is evidenced on many of Wolf's recording during this time. During the fifties and sixties, Chess records employed Henry many times as side man on their recordings. Also, he can be heard on many of J. D. Miller's Louisiana Excello blues recordings in the fifties and sixties.

The following is a list of blues artists that Henry has worked and/or recorded with in his career: Robert Lockwood Jr., Billy Boy Arnold, Morris Pejoe, Muddy Waters, Johnny Shines, Abe Locke, Hubert Sumlin, Lazy Lester, "Little" Walter Jacobs, Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller), "Homesick" James, Jimmy Reed ( including a Carnegie Hall concert), Jimmy Rogers, Elmore James (with him the night he died), "Snooky" Pryor, Koko Taylor, Otis Rush, "Little" Milton, James Cotton, Buddy Guy, Raful Neal, Kenny Neal, Taj Mahal, BB King, Tabby Thomas, Larry Garner, Moses "Whisperin" Smith, Silas Hogan, Guitar Kelly, Washboard Sam, and Guitar Slim. This list in not complete but it gives one the idea of the prolific and vital history of Henry's accomplishments.

Henry left Wolf's band and Chicago in 1968 to return to Alsen, due to the death of his father and to assist his mother with a family fish market business.

Since 1968, many have wondered what Henry has been doing. He worked with the East Baton Rouge Parish School Board as roofer for nearly fifteen years before retiring, helped raise a family with his wife Rivers Gray for the last thirty years, and remained active as a musician in a number of ways.

During the last thirty years, Henry has been performed at virtually all New Orleans Jazz Festivals, two Chicago Blues festivals (1987 & (1989), the Montreal Jazz Fest (1988), nearly every Baton Rouge Blues Festival since its inception, the San Francisco Blues Festival, Memphis's W.C. Handy Blues Festival Blues Festival, several Festival Internationals (Lafayette, Louisiana), the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, the King Biscuit festival (Helena, Arkansas), and many other festivals around the United States.

Also, Henry has travelled to Europe to play festivals and concerts regularly during this time. He is on several European releases with several bands. Henry can be found playing occassionally at Blind Willies in Atlanta, Georgia, the Rhythm Room in Phoenix, Arizona, Tabby's Thomas' Blues Box and Abe's Barbecue in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In 1988, Blind Pig Records released Henry's first stateside feature LP entitled "Lucky Man."

More recently, Henry received a Grammy nomination for his work on TelArc Records' 1998 release "A Tribute to Howlin' Wolf". Also, Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones paid homage to Henry by having him play at Jagger's 55th birthday bash in Paris in '98 along with a few other blues legends. In the summer of '99, Henry joined Marva Wright and her band for a 30-day Louisiana music European tour produced by Blue House Records. Finally, Henry Gray and the Cats will continue "keepin' the blues alive" according to God's plan. Support the blues! Peace.
Alabama Mike is a hard-driving Chicago-style blues singer with the ability to make you feel as if you’ve revisited the early CHESS RECORDS days.
Alabama Mike is a force on the microphone with that first rate, church house tenor’, that he was blessed with he has a sound that will remind you of a young BB King or Buddy Guy, Elmore James and Little Johnny Taylor.

Michael A. Benjamin, aka Alabama Mike was born January 31, 1964 in Talladega, Alabama. He was influenced by the gospel singing of his father who encouraged him and his five siblings to begin singing in the church at a very early age. He came to California in 1983 via a military hitch in the U.S. Navy which landed him in the San Francisco Bay area. Several years down the road, as he soaked up what he could learn from blues records he collected and local blues act and associates along the way, he started performing the blues professionally in 1999. He was fortunate enough to put a record label (Jukehouse Records) together in 2009 along with co-founder Scott Silveira and released his first record entitled Day To Day which officially broke him into the blues music scene. Domestically and internationally known for his first rate tenor’ vocals and his witty and ingenious song writing skills, he then followed with his sophomore offering in 2011 which he entitled Tailor Made Blues that has been causing some fuss around here, garnering five star reviews in all the major blues magazines and heavy airplay worldwide. His band includes Anthony Paule ~ guitar, Scot Brenton ~ guitar/harmonica, Kedar Roy ~ bass, Paul Revelli ~ drums. He recently formed a acoustic blues-trio calling the The Hound Kings, which includes himself, A. Paule and W.S. Brenton. The Hound Kings have released their debut CD May 2013 titled UNLEASHED. The Hound Kings new release UNLEASHED CD was nominated by The Blues Foundation for a 2014 Blues Music Award in the Acoustic Album category. Alabama Mike performed at the 2014 Blues Music Awards with The Hound Kings and was rated one of the Top Ten Highlights of the show by the Blues Foundation. Alabama Mike has shared the stage with such blues greats as The Fabulous Thunderbirds, John Primer, Lurrie Bell, Steve Freund, Bobby Rush, Johnny Rawls, Fillmore Slim, R. J. Mischo, DeWayne Wiggins, Willie (Big Eyes) Smith and so many others. He has also played several national festivals and concerts including the Poconos Blues Festival, Reno Blues Festival, among others and is preparing to tour internationally this Summer 2015. He has previously been awarded 2010 Blues New Artist Of The Year ~ Bay Area Blues Society, 2010 Nominee Blues Blast Magazine Beat New Artist Debut Recording, 2011 Nominee Blues Foundation ~ Category:Blues Music Award Traditional Blues ~Male Artist Of The Year. He is currently preparing a 2015 release of blues/soul original compositions that is sure to have blues lovers and listeners anticipating Alabama Mike’s third solo project which will be produced by Kid Anderson (Greaseland Music Services) in the San Francisco Bay Area. This work will feature the likes of Jim Pugh who was with Robert Cray for 25 years and before then he was in Etta James’ and Otis Rush’s bands. On organ and piano and Jerry Jemmott who played bass in King Curtis’ band in the 60′s, and they played on most of the Aretha Franklin, BB King, Freddie King and Otis Rush records of that time the 60′s. There will also be a host of local bay area blues artist featured such as Lil Jonny Lawton, Aki Kumar, Sid Morris, Kedar Roy and many others will be accompanying him.
The Rhythm Room All-Stars were founded by harmonica player, bandleader, and club owner Bob Corritore in 1991, as he opened his Phoenix blues and roots concert club called The Rhythm Room. This band's current lineup includes Big Jon Atkinson on guitar and vocals, Danny Michel on guitar, Troy Sandow on bass, Brian Fahey on drums, and Bob Corritore on harmonica. Each member of this band has a long and credentialed blues resume. The Rhythm Room All-Stars' specialty is a vintage Chicago Blues sound. This group not only puts on its own house-rockin' show, but also serves as a backing unit for visiting guest artists, and has supported Henry Gray, Jimmy Rogers, Big Pete Pearson, Tomcat Courtney, Mud Morganfield, Tail Dragger, Carol Fran, Sam Lay, Roy Gaines, Billy Boy Arnold, Snooky Pryor, Luther Tucker, Bo Diddley, Louisiana Red, Chief Schabuttie Gilliame, Finis Tasby, Johnny Dyer, Dave Riley, Chico Chism, Pinetop Perkins, Lil' Ed, Bob Margolin, Kid Ramos, Nappy Brown, Sugaray Rayford, Diunna Greenleaf, Barrelhouse Chuck, and many others. Over the years, The Rhythm Room All-Stars have become an international festival attraction, appearing at such high-profile events as the Lucerne Blues Festival, Marco Fiume Blues Passions Festival in Italy, the Bay-Car Blues Festival in France, The Ottawa Blues Festival in Canada, The Spring Blues Festival in Belgium, the Lionel Hampton Jazz Club at Hotel Le Meridien in Paris, France, as well as its numerous openings for B.B. King. The Rhythm Room All-Stars sound is showcased on releases by Big Pete Pearson, Bob Corritore, Henry Gray, Tomcat Courtney, Sam Lay, John Primer, Tail Dragger and Louisiana Red.
Venue Information:
The Rhythm Room
1019 E. Indian School Road
Phoenix, AZ, 85014