Billy Crawford Band faces off with the young guns of blues April 10

Northeast State will host a blues showdown April 10 at 7 p.m. when the Billy Crawford Band takes on four of the region’s hottest young guitar slingers.

Band leader Billy Crawford promises an epic night of playing as he goes toe-to-toe with up and coming challengers Chelsea Constable, Ryan Kendrick, Jake Quillin, and Phil Suppi. The young guns possess phenomenal skills that will push the veteran bluesman to his limit.

The Billy Crawford Band is a regional favorite with a repertoire that reflects wide-ranging interests and influences of the blues, ballads, rock, surf, and even New Orleans-style tunes.

Crawford lists rock guitar greats such as Randy Rhoads, Ritchie Blackmore, and Gary Moore as inspirations, but Elvis Presley, B.B. King, and Stevie Ray Vaughn reign supreme. He has notched three decades of blues music and for much of the 1990s, audiences around the world heard Crawford’s intense work with blues-rocker Deborah Coleman.

Crawford gave up the road in 2002, but he still rocks regionally with a group that consists of singer/guitarist Rex Boggs, sax man Jay Corder, bassist Robert McClain, drummer Keith Chinault, and on occasion, Hammond B3 player Jacob Tipton.

The Billy Crawford Band
The Billy Crawford Band

Of the young guns, Constable may be the best known. She’s played at a number of regional and national venues and once shared the stage with the legendary Les Paul. Endorsed by Taylor Guitars, she is currently putting finishing touches on her debut CD. Among her influences are James Burton, Tommy Emmanuel, Chet Atkins, Jerry Reed, Danny Gatton, and Django Reinhardt.

Kendrick plays in the local blues rock band Blue Stone, which favors classic rock and roll and gritty blues favorites. Kendrick, a protégé of Crawford, often joins the band on stage in a featured jam.

Suppi plays in the power trio of Jones, Rasnake, and Suppi. Comfortable with anything ranging from Black Sabbath to Jimi Hendrix to the Georgia Satellites, the band’s bio promises good times and lots of tasty vintage tones.

Quillin leads Jake and Comet Conductors, a band that prides itself on interpretations of rock, blues, and soul music classic as well as quality original songs. The band was a winner at the 2014 Piedmont Blues Preservation Society’s Blues Challenge and appeared recently at the 2015 Grove Wine & Song Concert Series in Gibsonville, N.C.

The concert will be staged in the 500-seat Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts on the Blountville campus, 2425 Highway 75, adjacent to the Tri-Cities Regional Airport.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. For more information, contact 423.279.7669 or jpkelly@northeaststate.edu.

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