2005 Madison Ribberfest Blues Bash

Harman-Watson duo, Castro
to headline 2005 blues event

Castro headlines on Friday night

By Levi King
Staff Writer

MADISON, Ind. (Aug. 12, 2005) –  With several big name musicians on the schedule, event organizers have promised that this year’s Madison Ribberfest will be the “bluesiest” yet. The fourth annual event will feature the Tommy Castro Band, Mark Selby, Omar and the Howlers, James Harman, and Junior Watson.

James Harman

James Harman

The Tommy Castro Band will take the stage at 8 p.m. (EST-slow time) Friday. Castro, a native of San Jose, Calif., discovered the blues through B.B. King’s “Cook County Jail” album as a kid. Inspired by the music, he picked up the guitar and never looked back. Castro’s music reveals influences like Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, Otis Redding, Ray Charles, and James Brown.
Castro, 50, played in several bands in the San Francisco area, including Warner Brothers recording act the Dynatones before starting his own band in 1991. Castro produced his debut album, “No Foolin’,” in 1993 and followed up two years later with the breakthrough “Exception to the Rule” on Blind Pig Records.
The Tommy Castro Band was selected as the house band for NBC’s “Comedy Showcase” in the late 1990s. Castro’s 1999 album, “Right as Rain,” featured guests Dr. John and Delbert McClinton. In 2001, Castro and crew toured and performed with heroes John Hiatt, Guy and King. The late John Lee Hooker performed on Castro’s critically acclaimed 33rd St. Records release, “

Mike Junior Watson
Mike "Junior" Watson

Guilty of Love,” that same year. Area blues enthusiasts may be familiar with the guitar slinger’s live performances, since he has appeared several times at Stevie Ray’s in Louisville.

Songwriter and Vanguard recording artist Mark Selby follows at 10 p.m. Friday with his brand of fat guitar blues. Selby, an Oklahoma native, moved to Nashville in the 1990s to pursue songwriting. His versatile style paired him with artists from diverse genres. Selby struck gold when he wrote the No. 1 hit, “There’s Your Trouble,” for the Dixie Chicks, as well as songs for Wynonna Judd, Trisha Yearwood and Keb Mo’.
Don’t be fooled, however. Selby promises to bring soulful blues to the riverfront. He has toured with King, Robert Cray and Jeff Beck, and written several tunes for blues whiz kid Kenny Wayne Shepherd, including the 1998 smash, “Blue on Black.” Selby’s own albums, “More Storms Comin’” and “Dirt,” have garnered praise from fans of rock and blues alike.

Tommy Castro
Tommy Castro
As a live musician, Selby incorporates slide guitar into his repertoire to electrify audiences. He has performed live with a wide range of musicians, from the untouchable King to rock legends like Jeff Beck and Lynyrd Skynyrd, to popular rocker John Mayer, to country’s eccentric Junior Brown. Selby’s experience with such artists imbues his blues with an uncommonly broad range of perspective.
Saturday’s musical lineup begins at noon with Louisville’s LA Groove. The Gordon Bonham Blues Band of Indianapolis will perform at 1:30 p.m., followed by Chicago bluesmen Studebaker John and the Hawks at 3 p.m., and Guy Davis and the High Flyin’ Rockets at 5 p.m.
Guy Davis
Guy Davis

Fans will recognize Davis’ rootsy acoustic blues from his performances on “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” radio’s “World Café” and numerous festivals around the globe. Those who don’t may recognize him from another performance – as Dr. Josh Hall on the soap opera “One Life to Live” in the mid 1980s. The son of the late famed actor, Ossie Davis, Guy Davis draws influence from southern bluesmen like Blind Willie McTell and Mississippi John Hurt as well as storytellers like Zora Neale Hurston.
Omar and the Howlers take the stage at 7 p.m. Omar Dykes was born in McComb, Miss., where he learned to play guitar by hanging around the black clubs. Dykes graduated from high school, formed the Howlers and began performing in the southeast. In 1976, the band moved to Austin, Texas, where they perfected their style of “electric Texas blues.” Omar and the Howlers, who claim Stevie Ray Vaughan as one of their greatest influences, have recorded more than 10 albums in their prolific career.
Saturday’s headliner, James Harman, with very special guest Mike “Junior” Watson, will perform at 9 p.m. Harman, whom many consider to be one of the greatest living harmonica players, was born into a musical family in Anniston, Ala.

Mark Selby
Mark Selby

As a child, he learned to play several instruments, including piano, guitar and harmonica. In 1962, he moved to Panama City, Fla., where he frequented black nightclubs to hear acts like Little Milton Campbell, Jimmy Reed and Redding. Harman began performing with local musicians and put together his own bands, performing under many different names. In 1964, a label manager took the 18-year-old bluesman to Atlanta to record a 45 rpm record, and he spent the next several years touring the eastern United States.
In 1970, Harman moved to southern California, where he still resides. In his career spanning more than four decades, Harman has released 29 recordings, received 14 W.C. Handy Blues Award nominations and played alongside greats like Freddie King, Waters, T-Bone Walker and Albert Collins. While Harman doesn’t go on tour with a band anymore, he often performs weekend festivals alone, with Watson or with guitarist Kid Ramos, who performed at last year’s Madison Ribberfest.
Watson, meanwhile, boasts an equally impressive resume. In more than 30 years as a blues guitarist, he has performed and recorded with an all-star roster of musicians, including Big Mama Thorton, Charlie Musselwhite, Shakey Jake and Jimmy Rogers.
Watson was a founding member of The Mighty Flyers. Watson joined Canned Heat in the 1980s and continued to tour with the band through much of the 1990s.
“Every year we get a little bit better and a little bit bigger,” said Rocky Harrell, who serves on the Madison Ribberfest's Blues Bash subcommittee, which selects the bands.
“We showed the brochure for this year’s festival to Tommy Castro, and he went nuts. He couldn’t believe the acts we had listed. Castro wanted to know how in the world we got James Harman to fly out here all the way from California. He wanted to cancel a gig he’d booked for Saturday in northern Indiana so he could stay and watch Harman and Junior Watson.”
Harrell added the festival has become so well known in the blues community that artists from all over the country are sending their publicity kits and CDs for consideration.
“We’ve got different styles of blues musicians coming – horns, acoustic, swing-style, keyboards," Harrell said. "We feel every year that we take one step farther. The biggest reason the festival is so good is because of the sponsors. If fans went to see these acts without the sponsors, they’d be paying $25 each night.”

For more information or to order tickets, call the Madison Area Convention & Visitors Bureau at 1-800-559-2956 or visit: www.madisonribberfest.com.


2005 Madison Ribberfest cover
Pick Up our
Madison Ribberfest Guide
in mid-August!

Madison Ribberfest
Friday-Saturday, Aug. 19-20, 2005
on the Madison, Ind., riverfront

Friday Bands
- (EST-slow time)
• 6 p.m.: Chicago Rhythm & Blues Kings
• 8 p.m.: The Tommy Castro Band
• 10 p.m.: Mark Selby

Saturday Bands - (EST-slow time)
• Noon: L.A. Groove
• 1:30 p.m.: Gordon Bonham Blues Band
• 3 p.m.: Studebaker John & The Hawks
• 5 p.m.: Guy Davis & The High Flynin’ Rockets
• 7 p.m.: Omar & The Howlers
• 9 p.m.: James Harman & Junior Watson

• Tickets: $20 for 2-day wristband if purchased by
Aug. 19. Single day tickets: $10 Friday; $15 Saturday. Children 12-under free. To order call (812) 265-2956 or 1-800-559-2956 or visit: www.madisonribberfest.com

Other Weekend Events:
Ribberfest Food Court:
Enjoy delicious beef, chicken and pork
from Midway vendors.
Community sponsored concrete pig decorating contest
to benefit local scholarship awards to agricultural-related majors.

Festival Times:
Gates open at 5 p.m. Friday;
11 a.m. Saturday

Admission Wristbands
Through Aug. 1, $20 for Two-Day Pass (Includes $10 in food/beverage tickets)
Aug. 2-20, $20 for Two-Day Pass (No food/beverage tickets)
Friday, Aug. 19 only: $10
, Aug. 20 only: $15
Children 12-under free.

Cooking Competitions
Indiana State Barbeque Cookoff Entry Fee: $200 per cooking team
Backyard Barbeque Blast
(Amateur Contest)
= $20 per team
Balloon Rides = $125 per person (Reserve early by calling the CVB)

No video or audio recording allowed; no coolers, food or beverage allowed; no pets, skateboards, bikes or rollerblades allowed.

Back to 2005 Ribberfest Articles.



Copyright 1999-2015, Kentuckiana Publishing, Inc.

Pick-Up Locations Subscribe Staff Advertise Contact Submit A Story Our Advertisers Columnists Archive Area Links Area Events Search our Site Home Monthly Articles Calendar of Events Kentucky Speedway Madison Chautauqua Madison Ribberfest Madison Regatta