MainstayBlues: Lonnie Shields with the Obsoleets at the Mainstay, April 12

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Lonnie Shields with the Obsoleets bring down-home, Delta influenced electric blues to the Mainstay in Rock Hall, Maryland as part of the Mainstay’s blues series MainstayBlues on Saturday April 12 at 8:00 pm. Admission is $15.

Lonnie Shields

Lonnie Shields

Lonnie Shields is an electric blues guitarist, singer and songwriter with a down-home Delta touch. Born on the Arkansas side of the Delta, he’s travelled the world spreading his rousing version of the blues that is deeply rooted in gospel, soul and R & B but his sound, like his soul is never too far from the Delta home of the blues. Shields is now living in Media, PA and will be joined by the Obsoleets: Parris Bradley on tenor guitar, vocals, banjo & ukulele; John Stovicek on mandolin, guitar, vocals & tenor guitar; Alex Uskuraitis on accordion; Frank Luca on dobro, guitar;  Bill Hayward on upright bass; Wayne G. Harvey on guitar & vocals and Steve Rongner, percussion. They’ll play some of their own acoustic American roots, blues and gospel and also join Shields as his band for the electrifying down-home blues that have earned him the title “Keeper of the Blues.”

Lonnie Shields plays the Blues with a heavy dose of Gospel. His early music experiences were as a Gospel singer and it shows in every performance. His listening preferences as a teenager were Rhythm & Blues and Soul and these influenced his performing style as well. He cut his blues teeth performing with the Jelly Roll Kings. His guitar style is forceful and direct. His songs are about life in the Delta and they sometimes take an unexpected turn.

Shields’ recording career has led him through a number of studios from Memphis to Clarksdale. He was the first Delta artist that Rooster Blues picked up after moving to Clarksdale, Mississippi in 1987. His CD “Portrait” was released in 1992 and reads like a Who’s Who of Delta Blues Performers. It was praised by critics as one of the best debut albums of the year. Since then he has built an impressive list of recordings and songwriter credits. Shield’s latest release “Keeper of The Blues” is another highly praised recording featuring his soulful, down-home blues with a contemporary focus and a juke-joint feel.

Shields is among the younger generation of Mississippi blues men keeping the music alive. Originally from West Helena, Arkansas (considered an extension of the Mississippi Delta due to i’s musical heritage), Shields has honed his craft and performance style paying his dues in small Mississippi clubs like the country store/juke joint in Bobo, MS.

Brought up in a family where the church played a central role in daily life, his gospel roots show through in everything he sings. He began playing soul and funk as a teen before discovering the Delta blues in Lula, Mississippi through his friend drummer Sam Carr. Shields worked with Carr in the Unforgettable Blues Band and took as mentors other local musicians like Frank Frost and Big Jack Johnson with whom he toured. Later, he discovered B.B. King, whom he considers a primary influence.

The Obsoleets

The Obsoleets

After Shields played the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Arkansas in 1986, he was asked to record a single for the Rooster Blues label. This in turn led to his first album for Rooster Blues. The album got him noticed in the blues world and let to a broader touring base that included festival stops around the Northeast. Shields recorded and released Tired of Waiting (1996) and Blues Is On Fire (1997) for the London-based JSP Record label. A second Rooster Blues album, Midnight Delight, was released in 2000. His latest is Keeper of the Blues. He continues to perform around the U.S., Europe and Canada.

The Obsoleets are a band with an eclectic collection of instruments and a deep-rooted love of acoustic American roots, blues, and gospel music.  Based in southeastern Pennsylvania and with a strong and loyal fan base, The Obsoleets are known for their live performances at blues festivals, art centers and clubs throughout the Delaware Valley and Maryland. They have appeared several times at the Mainstay, always to an enthusiastic audience response. They will do some of their own material and back up Lonnie Shields has he plays his electric down-home blues.

The Mainstay is supported by ticket sales, fundraising including donations from friends and audience members and an operating grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.For information and reservations call the Mainstay at 410-639-9133 or mainstayrockhall.org.

Letters to Editor

  1. Richard Moon and Bonnie Paton Moon says:

    On our annual trek to Rock Hall (from Connecticut) we were thrilled to see some big “O’s” :..Ospreys at the point and the surprise of the Obsoleets …..and LOnnie Shields. While more familiar with tiny hummingbirds (see new sanctuary Tucson Audubon’s Paton Birder Haven in Patagonia AZ) the newly appreciated Ospreys and their kindred birds of prey were delightful….sharing their Spring activities. Thanks to the Osprey Point Inn and Mainstay.

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