Every year the Tennessee Riverboat Company partners with the Smoky Mountain Blues Society to bring you some of the best blues music in the eastern part of the state. Each cruise features a different Blues act encompassing many different styles of blues from classic to contemporary, and everything in between.
These cruises also benefit the Smoky Mountain Blues Society’s “Blues in the Schools” program, created to bring awareness of the music genre to children. Recently, Halls Middle School students were treated to an inspiring blues performance by bassist Stan Gibert, drummer Barry Schwartz, guitarist Robert Higginbotham, and Barry Faust on both guitar and harmonica. The students thoroughly enjoyed the presentation and wrote emails expressing their gratitude to the musicians.
The Smoky Mountain Blues Society is an affiliate of the Blues Foundation, established in Knoxville in 2010, and committed to preserving, promoting and perpetuating the heritage and music of the blues. In addition to the school program, they offer a monthly blues night for non-ambulatory veterans at Ben Atchley Veterans Hospital.
One of the favorite activities of the Society is the monthly Blues Cruise on the Star of Knoxville. Each 3-hour cruise boards at 3:00 PM and sails from 4:00 – 7:00 PM. Food and drinks are available for purchase, and a great time is had by all who attend.
Each month a different Blues band is featured.
The June 26 cruise will showcase the Stella-Vees Blues Band. The Stella-Vees Blues Band plays Chicago and West Coast style blues reflecting influences of legendary blues musicians like T-Bone Walker, Hollywood Fats, Magic Sam and Little Walter. If you like straight ahead, no effects pedal Blues, this is the night for you!
Winners of two of Kentuckiana’s Blues Society’s “Best Unsigned Blues Band Competition” in Louisville, KY, The Stella-Vees have played major blues festivals since 2007 and continue to be a mainstay on the blues circuit.
On July 17 the Blues Cruise will feature Ori Naftaly with Southern Ave. From Israel by way of Memphis, Ori Naftaly stirs up a funky, soulful, rock’n’roll stew, built on a solid foundation of the blues. The fiery, 27-year-old, guitarist has made a name for himself as one of the most versatile and dynamic blues soloists today.
August 21st, we feature “A Few Miles On.” They are a Middle Tennessee based band that performs a mix of blues-based originals and covers. They started in February 2012 just jamming together a couple of times a week in the basement, and grew their love of performing live in gigs across the state. Performance dates are scarce during the summer months as they record their second album and we are happy to have them on our boat in August.
September 18th brings Groove Junction to the Star of Knoxville. At the intersection of Blues Boulevard, Rock & Roll Highway, and Funk Ave. you have Groove Junction. This high-energy band mixes spicy covers with tasty originals. The upbeat mix of blues, jump blues, blues rock, funk and original songs will have you up and dancing the evening away.
And our last Blues Cruise of the season showcases The Blues Sessions featuring Jon Mason and Warren Pineda. These traditional blues performers will wrap up our incredible season with classic blues tunes.
Join us on Sunday’s in the summer for our Special Blues Cruises. Click here for reservations.