Henderson festival grooves to blues, country, pop and rock

Rock it or wail it. Either will nail it.

“Even though it’s called the Rockin’ Blues Festival, it’s always been an eclectic mix for music lovers,” says Bud Pico, manager of Henderson’s Cultural Arts & Tourism Department programs. “Classic rock and blues, one has grown from the other.”

The third edition of the annual all-day festival, hitting the downbeat Saturday afternoon at the Henderson Pavilion, musically spans several eras. Among the headliners: Gutbucket blues belter Michael Burks, country singer-songwriter Jessica Andrews, and tribute bands Yellow Brick Road — saluting classic rock groups Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Aerosmith and the Rolling Stones — and Rock & Roll Dance Party, an homage to early rock icons Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper, aka Jiles Perry Richardson Jr., portrayed by his son, Jay.

“It’s almost a timeline of music,” Pico says. “And it’s a family-friendly event. Ten dollars for 10 acts, you can come for the music you like and stay all day.” If you need a timeout between tunes, a classic car show with 300 vehicles should keep you revved up, plus food and vendor booths.

Injecting the blues element, Burks brings three decades of intensity and authenticity to the festival, as when he sings: “Thought I found the right woman; To ease my worried mind; You said you would be there for me, baaaby; Till the end of time.”

Pain is palpable in his powerful pipes, but so is a touching resignation to the hardships of life and love, right up until he backs away from the microphone, his wrenching guitar solo taking up the cry of betrayal.

“I was 2 years old when I first heard the blues, and I was playing in nightclubs when I was 6 in my hometown in Arkansas, and I still make my living that way,” Burks says. “I notice that younger people now are starting to get into the blues. Used to be younger people weren’t allowed to listen to the blues. Blues was the devil music, ya know?”

By that measure, the devil had a son. He named it rock ‘n’ roll.

“It’s fun to get up onstage and do this timeless music from before rock ‘n’ roll got complicated with political messages and all that stuff,” says John Mueller, who’s made a hip-swiveling career out of portraying the title legend in the London and Broadway editions of the musical “Buddy … The Buddy Holly Story,” and in the Rock & Roll Dance Party. “It tends to just make people feel good.”

Mueller’s Holly and Richardson’s Big Bopper are joined in the Dance Party by Ray Anthony, star of “Legends in Concert” at the Imperial Palace, groovin’ as Ritchie Valens. The trio tuns out such ’50s pop pearls as “That’ll Be the Day,” “Peggy Sue,” “La Bamba” and “Chantilly Lace.”

Re-creating Holly’s nerdy genius required Mueller to master one of his famed vocal tics. “One of the most difficult things was this hiccuping style he had — a-heh, a-heh, a-heh — and I had to get that believable,” Mueller says. “And I didn’t want to make it a cheesy thing or a caricature impersonation. I researched the heck out of him, and I was fortunate to know some of his close band members and they gave me little pointers.”

While an admirer of Gary Busey’s performance in “The Buddy Holly Story,” Mueller kept its Hollywood-ized touches out of his characterization. “The more I researched Buddy Holly, the more I realized the historical inaccuracies of that movie, which are pretty prevalent,” he says. “They show him punching a guy out at the Decca recording studio, and that was not true. I asked (the late) Niki Sullivan, his original rhythm guitar player, and he said he never would’ve done that. He called strangers ‘yes, sir’ and ‘yes, ma’am,’ very much a Texas gentleman, so I wanted to get that in my performance.”

Music through the decades? Yes, sir. Good bet for a family-fun fest? Yes, ma’am.

Your hosts?

Angels of devil music.

Contact reporter Steve Bornfeld at sbornfeld@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0256.

ad-high_impact_4
Entertainment
WinterFest
WinterFest in Henderson.
Miss Rodeo America Fashion Show
The 28 women contestants of Miss Rodeo America compete in a fashion show at the Tropicana on Dec. 7, 2018.
Tournament Of Kings Holiday Show
Wizards and warriors are ready for the holidays at Excalibur's Tournament of Kings Holiday Dinner Show.
Take a dive with the Silverton mermaids
A visit to the Silverton Casino Hotel is not complete without taking in the popular, and very unique, mermaid show.
Cowboys and western aficionados can buy virtually anything at Cowboy Christmas
Vegas Golden Knights Christmas Display
In the Las Vegas Valley, the chances of getting a white Christmas are slim. But this year, you can have a “Knight” Christmas. A Henderson resident has a Christmas lights display that is synchronized to the entrance music for the Golden Knights. GG Misa’s Knights light show is played every 30 minutes from 5 to 10 nightly. His light show consists of two songs: Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and the entrance music, “Le Castle Vania,” from the movie “John Wick.” The display is located at 730 Bollons Island St. (Richard Brian/Las Vegas Reivew-Journal)
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez is Just in Time For Repeal Day And Christmas
Holiday Hooch At El Cortez Is Just In Time For Repeal Day And Christmas. Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TV's LGBT superheroes
Green Valley Ranch's Winter's Village
The Mob Museum
Best Friend Menu Reveal Wednesday
Chef Roy Choi tells us what to expect from Wednesday’s Facebook Live Menu Reveal for his new Park MGM restaurant Best Friend. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Quick Chat With Criss Angel
James D. Gish and Susan Anton rehearse
Susan Anton will be special guest at James D. Gish’s holiday concerts Dec. 7 at Summerlin Library and Dec. 9 at Clark County Library. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio Winter Wonderland
"Majestic Holiday Magic" at the Bellagio Conservatory.
Underwater Santa At The Silverton
Santa takes a dive Sunday, December 2, at the Silverton Casino Hotel. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Cowabunga Bay Christmas Town
Las Vegas Natural History Museum
Las Vegas Natural History Museum, which opened in 1991, has exhibits of mechanical dinosaurs and taxidermied animals, along with live snakes, fish and sharks. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Magical Forest Lights
Cirque Du Soleil Performers Team Up For New Show "Kinekt"
Through dance, acrobatics and aerial arts, “Kinekt” tells a story all too familiar to modern families: how to maintain a human connection in the digital age. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ethel M Holiday Cactus Garden
The Pinball Hall of Fame in Las Vegas
The Pinball Hall of Fame was created by Tim Arnold and opened in 2006. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jump! The Ultimate Dog Show at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas
Trainer Lou “Mack” McCammon guides several rescue dogs through a series of tricks and jumps two shows a day weekends through December at the Springs Preserve in Las Vegas. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Buddy V - Sep 21 Confidante
Famous Infinity Mirror Room is open in Las Vegas
Yayoi Kusama's "Aftermath of Obliteration of Infinity" mirror room is open at the Bellagio in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Glittering Lights dazzles Las Vegas
The Glittering Lights holiday display is shining at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (Mat Luschek/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Skybar at Waldorf Astoria lets you sip your way through Las Vegas history
Skybar At Waldorf Astoria Lets You Sip Your Way Through Las Vegas History (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Stan Lee in Las Vegas for Madame Tussauds unveiling
Stan Lee Las Vegas speaks with the Review-Journal's Chris Lawrence about his love for his fans and shared universes. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Ultimate Belgium Waffle Sundae at Lavo
Lavo at the Palazzo serves a 16-scoop ice cream sundae that costs $800. (Rochelle Ricahrds, Janna Karel/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip
A New Zip Line Is Opening On The Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel lLas Vegas Review-Journal)
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip
You'll need a keen eye to find this secret bar on the Las Vegas Strip (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like